Local People Around Cabrits National Park to Benefit from $300,000 Grant Under OPAAL Project

Roseau, Dominica – July 1, 2009……. Persons living in the vicinity of the Cabrits National Park are expected to benefit from a project entitled the Livelihoods Sub-Project under the OECS Protected Areas and Associated Livelihoods Project (OPAAL).

Launched at the Cabrits National Park recently, the community-based project is valued at over EC$300,000.

Speaking at the launching ceremony, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Hon. Matthew Walter said the goal of the Livelihoods Sub-Project is to contribute to poverty reduction in communities in and around the Cabrits National Park.

According to the Minister persons will be trained in appropriate fishing methods, small business management, craft production, tour guiding, food catering and boat and engine maintenance.

Hon. Walter added that in order to strengthen the capacity of community members and trained beneficiaries to utilize the skills attained and strengthened through the sub-project training elements, seed funding will be provided for the procurement of materials, equipment and or supplies which will be provided to the beneficiaries.

“This is to facilitate community members who may not have access to traditional forms of finance or have insufficient disposable income to purchase the necessary materials. The fact that the OPAAL project is providing grant funds augurs well for the targeted households in and around the protected area,” Hon. Walter stated.

In his address at the launching ceremony Head of the OECS Environment and Sustainable Development Unit (ESDU), Mr. Keith Nicholas said that citizens of the OECS “share a vision of development that is truly premised on the principles of sustainability, meaningful stakeholder participation, equity and justice, protection and enhancement of livelihoods, all of which serve to reduce vulnerability and improve the overall quality of life of our people”.

“The OPAAL project has given us the opportunity to take up the challenge to promote economic development that will facilitate the formulation and implementation of policies to achieve ‘balanced development’; this is imperative if we are to cater to the needs of our future generations,” Mr. Nicholas stated.

Mr. Nicholas concluded that the OPAAL project is envisaged as a 15-year programme which seeks to contribute to the conservation of biodiversity of global importance, by removing barriers to the effective management of protected areas, and increasing the involvement of civil society and the private sector in protected areas management.

The OPAAL project commenced in April, 2005 in Dominica and the OPAAL project site is the Cabrits National Park-Marine Section. Since April 2005 a number of activities have been undertaken under the OPAAL project, including the development of a management plan as well as the sub-project, aimed at enhancing existing sustainable livelihoods of community members and the conservation of natural resources.

The World Bank, the Government of France and the Organisation of American States (OAS) are providing funding support for the project.

The Cabrits National Park in Dominica is one of six Demonstration sites being supported by the OECS Protected Areas and Associated Livelihoods (OPAAL) Project. It is rich in biological diversity and contains some of the most significant stands of dry tropical forest remaining in Dominica. The OPAAL project concentrates its activities on the marine section of the Cabrits National Park.

For more information, contact:

Sean Douglas
Press Secretary
Office of the Prime Minister
6th Floor, Financial Centre
Kennedy Avenue
Roseau
Commonwealth of Dominica
Tel: (767) 266-3054
Mobile: (767) 235-2955
Fax: (767) 448-8960

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