Who is the ‘we’ in the watershed?
Sunday, October 13 2013
Participation in the management of watersheds is increasingly being recognised in the Caribbean islands as a key approach to facilitate the sustainable use and management of forests, while providing increased and sustained benefits to livelihoods of forest users. The Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago has approved a National Forest Policy and also a Protected Areas Policy which create the policy environment for civil society to assume a more active and formal role in the management of forests.
Despite this recognition, many of the groups that are active and have a vested interest need support to further develop their capacity to participate in the management of forest.
What is being done to build the capacity of groups to participate in the management of natural resources?
The Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) is an independent, technical and research, regional organisation that analyses and promotes the participatory management of natural resources in the islands of the Caribbean in order to improve quality of life. CANARI has been working to build the capacity of civil society in the region to participate in natural resource management for over 30 years.
Civil society who are involved in natural resource management in Trinidad and Tobago have participated and are participating in a number of regional projects implemented by CANARI. These projects were geared to improve the capacity of civil society to function as effective organisations through exchanges of best practices and lessons learnt and action-learning opportunities. Groups benefited from projects which allowed them to assess their organisations, draft strategic plans, draft and implement improved financial management systems and improve communication within their organisations and with external partners.
CANARI is currently implementing a project in Trinidad and Tobago, funded by the Royal Bank of Canada (under its RBC Blue Water Project Leadership Grant) which, among other objectives, seeks to improve organisational management of community groups involved in watershed management in Trinidad and Tobago.
Groups working in watersheds
In Part 2 of this series, we featured some of the groups that are involved in the current RBC Blue Water Project. Here are a few more of these hard working community-based organisations:
* Aripo Youth Development Organisation has 15 members and has been working at Heights of Aripo, in the foothills of the Northern Range, for the past three years. They are rehabilitating a 25-acre cocoa estate with the objective of providing an alternative livelihood option for residents of their community as well as improving knowledge of the process and culture of cocoa production.
* Anse Fromager’s 60 members have a motto of “Working together to provide a clean and safe community.” Over the past seven years, they have planted over 700 trees in the Courland watershed in Tobago and have coordinated numerous clean-up drives on the island of Tobago.
* Fundamentals Cultural Group
19 members have worked for over ten years in the Tobago East Watershed. They have been building public awareness on watershed management issues through performances using speech band, drama and Calypso
* Sundew works in the Aripo Savannas, an area declared as a Scientific Reserve. The group is a key member of the Aripo Savannas Stakeholder Management Committee convened by the Environmental Management Authority under the Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) Rules 2001.
* Maitagual Unified Community Development’s motto is to reach out to communities, both locally and abroad, to develop clean, sustainable water solutions. The organisation, founded 11 years ago, has reforested over 200 acres of the mountain sides in Maitagual, San Juan, with over 300,000 trees. The group has also built bridges and homes for the disabled and established an Eco Park in the community.
* Argyle Village Environmental Protection Group, formed in 2006, has worked in the Roxborough watershed in Tobago to reforest over 100 acres of lands that were ravaged by fires. The group of 12 members assists in disaster response in East Tobago, has established a nature park in the Argyle/Lammy area and sponsors the Youth Stars United football club.
What can I do to support the work of these groups?
* Advocate for and support civil society equitably sharing control over decisions which manage forest goods and services
* Support capacity building initiatives for civil society groups working in forests.
* Support development and implementation of projects, plans and legislation that create an enabling environment for civil society groups to participate in the management of forest.
* Lend a hand and support the outreach activities of these groups, both on the ground and in public awareness activities; support the good work done by the groups involved in watershed management!
For further information please contact:
Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI)
Fernandes Business Centre
Building 7, Eastern Main Road,
Laventille, Trinidad. W.I.
Tel: (868) 626-6062 o Fax: (868) 626-1788
E-mail: email@example.com o Website: www.canari.org