Chemonics, an international development organization, joined the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Haiti Mission and officials from the Haitian government for a ceremonial launch last week to officially commence USAID’s Haiti Reforestation Project.
The five-year project, funded by USAID and implemented by Chemonics in partnership with NCBA CLUSA and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), aims to address critical environmental degradation and loss of tree cover in Haiti’s North and Northeast regions.
NCBA CLUSA will provide technical leadership in community organization as well as developing high-value crop value chains as alternative sources of income for farmers. NCBA CLUSA will lead a participatory process to empower communities to develop sub-watershed management plans with the goal of reducing threats, increasing tree cover, and navigating economic risks and challenges.
Representing the U.S. Embassy to Haiti, Chargé d’Affaires Robin Diallo emphasized the importance of the Government of Haiti’s leadership on reforestation. “Perhaps most important to our long-term success is good governance of Haiti’s natural resources,” she said. “The health and longevity of these resources depend on the commitment of our Government of Haiti counterparts to sustainably manage trees in particular and to build a strong network of environmental services for local communities.”
Chemonics Project Director Mario Kerby attended the launch event, lauding the reforestation project’s objectives in his remarks: “The goals of this project are ambitious, but achievable, with a combination of strong technical know-how, active participation of beneficiaries, and strong collaboration with our Haitian partners in both the public and private sectors.”
The Haiti reforestation project will work closely with local communities to achieve four main objectives: reduce the threat of deforestation, improve resilience to economic and natural shocks, increase tree cover in targeted areas, and improve environmental governance and coordination.
Among its targets, the project will plant more than five million trees in Haiti by 2022, bring 15,000 hectares of land under agroforestry systems or tree cover, facilitate the restoration of more than 800 hectares of mangrove forests, and contribute to the reduction of charcoal use by 80,000 metric tons in five priority watersheds: Haut du Cap, Grande Rivière du Nord, Trou du Nord, Marion, and Jassa.
Minister of the Environment Hon. M. Pierre Simon George delivered remarks at the launch event. He thanked USAID and the American people for their continued support for a better future for Haitians and underscored the importance of reforestation and conservation efforts.
The event concluded with a ceremonial tree-planting.