La Selle officially declared Haiti’s first Biosphere Reserve
During a ceremony that took place in Port au Prince on 20 February 2013, and was honoured by the presence of the Minister of Environment, Mr. Jean Francois Thomas, and the Minister of Education, Mr. Vanneur Pierre, La Selle was officially declared Haiti’s first biosphere reserve.
The area includes a large number of different ecosystems and protected areas such as La Visite, one of the country's most important biodiversity sites; and the forest reserve Forêt-des-pins, Haiti’s biggest pine reserve, which is dominated by the endemic pine specie Pinus occidentalis. Important cultural and architectural traditions are preserved in the historic city of Jacmel, which is partially included in the biosphere reserve.
During the ceremony, Mr Jean Coulanges, Permanent Secretary of the Haitian National Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO, Ms. Carmen Rodriguez Arce, the General Coordinator for Spanish Cooperation in Haiti, and Mr Miguel Clüsener-Godt, the UNESCO MAB Programme Specialist, highlighted the long journey since 2005, when the process to declare La Selle as a biosphere reserve began. However, much work still remains to be done. The reserve should become a reality where people and nature live in harmony.
All involved hope that this space will fulfill its functions: the conservation of nature and biodiversity; the promotion of sustainable economic development to improve the lives of its inhabitants, and logistical support for knowledge and scientific research.