06.08.2015 - Natural Sciences Sector

Enriching knowledge through exchanges between Haitian and Chilean biosphere reserves

© Municipalidad De Olmué, Chile.

In July 2015, representatives of the Haitian MAB National Committee met with the National Forestry Corporation (CONAF-Chile) in Chile, to learn about the management of Chilean biosphere reserves. This exchange was made possible by the contribution of the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development (AECID) to the MAB programme in Haiti.

The delegation comprised of Mr Ematel Belance, Director of the National Agency for Protected Areas; Mr Dieufort Deslorges and MsMartine Mathieu from the Haitian National Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO; and Mr Alberto Hernandez of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme. During their visit they explored the management models of La Campana - Peñuelas Biosphere Reserve, and discussed cooperation protocols, shared experiences and the possibility of strengthening capabilities between the two nations. This visit gave rise to new opportunities to exchange practices and seek benefits for both countries within the framework of South-South Cooperation.

Chile, through its National Forestry Corporation has an extensive experience in forest policy management and in cooperation with other biosphere reserves: a similar collaboration took place between the Campana-Peñuelas Biosphere Reserve (Chile) and the Fontainebleau-Gâtinais Biosphere Reserve (France). Meanwhile, Haiti is promoting the creation of a botanical garden that will be integrated into its La Selle Biosphere Reserve and is also active in environmental education through the UNESCO Associated Schools Project (ASP) Network. These activities were the basis of the exchange between the two countries. The Haitian delegation met with the Executive Director of CONAF, Mr. Aaron Cavieres, the MAB focal point in Chile, Mr. Mario Galvez, representatives of the Regional Government of Valparaiso, Chile's National Tourism Service (SERNATUR), the National Botanic Garden of Viña del Mar, and mayors of the municipalities of Olmué and Hijuelas. During the visit they discussed the environmental education project developed at the Lo Narvaez (Olmué) School. The delegation also  visited the La Campana National Park and the National Reserve Lago Peñuelas that are part of the Campana- Peñuelas Biosphere Reserve.

The support of AECID to the MAB programme in Haiti, does not only  strengthen the management of the La Selle Biosphere Reserve and the Haiti MAB National Committee,  but will also facilitate  the nomination of a second biosphere reserve in the Massif de la Hotte region and promote the creation of a transboundary biosphere reserve (the second in the Americas). This prospective transboundary biosphere reserve will integrate the La Selle Biosphere Reserve (Haiti) and the Jaragua-Bahoruco-Enriquillo Biosphere Reserve (Dominican Republic) through technical/scientific exchanges.

Haiti has a high species biodiversity -out of a total of 12,509 species over 8,800 are endemic to the country. In 1926, the country created its first protected area and in 2012 La Selle was designated as Haiti’s first biosphere reserve. For its part, Chile has ten biosphere reserves, covering 11.438.951 hectares, encompassing desert lands, the Andes and islands.

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