Of Water…and Iguanas


Next week is World Water Day – March 22, 2016. The theme from the UN is “Water and Jobs.” I will have to learn more about this, but you can read about it here: http://www.unwater.org/worldwaterday/about/en/

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For a small developing country like Jamaica (and for the entire region) water is becoming an increasingly complex issue, and World Water Day seems more significant every year. Women are disproportionately affected by water issues. In Jamaica, what was called the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment & Climate Change (now subsumed into the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation in the Office of the Prime Minister)and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) will be launching Jamaica’s Green Economy Policy Papers.

UNEP, through the Project Advancing Caribbean States’ Sustainable Development Through Green Economy (ACSSD-GE), has supported Jamaica with the production of two policy papers. The first, “Green Economy Scoping Study for Jamaica,” identifies key challenges and opportunities for greening key economic sectors of agriculture, tourism, construction, energy, and water and sewerage. The second paper, “The Green Economy in the Context of Vision 2030 Jamaica” documents Jamaica’s existing support for the green economy within national policy and recommends how this support can be strengthened.

I believe there will be other events related to World Water Day and the other “special” days next week (International Day of the Forest, March 21 and World Meteorological Day, March 23).  I will try to attend and update you on as many of these events as possible. These are all important issues to consider, crammed into one week – actually, three days! By the way, the Global Water Partnership (Caribbean) is another important organization. It’s celebrating its 20th anniversary. Read more about their work here: http://www.gwp.org/en/gwp-caribbean/

This Jamaican iguana, photographed at Hope Zoo, is part of the headstart programme which rears the endangered species in captivity and repatriates it to its natural habitat once it’s big enough to fend off predators. (Photo: Bryan Cummings/Jamaica Observer)
This Jamaican iguana, photographed at Hope Zoo, is part of the headstart programme which rears the endangered species in captivity and repatriates it to its natural habitat once it’s big enough to fend off predators. (Photo: Bryan Cummings/Jamaica Observer)

Meanwhile, there is fantastic news from the International Iguana Foundation. A milestone has been passed. The Foundation joyfully shared the following information on Facebook today:

Head Start History has been made!
‪#‎Jamaica‬!!! We are proud to report that a truly historic conservation milestone has been reached! As of this week, over three hundred Jamaican Iguanas have been released back into the Hellshire Hills!
Six years after their rediscovery in 1990, the first “head started” Jamaican Iguanas were released back into the Hellshire Hills in Jamaica’s Portland Bight Protected Area. Each year larger numbers were released as the head start program at Zoo Kingston grew. One of the most successful conservation undertakings in history, this years release of 37 Jamaican Iguanas, brings the total to 315 released back into the wild over the past twenty years!
We want express our sincere appreciation to everyone who has been involved over the years, including, but not limited to, the Zoo Kingston at Hope Gardens, National Environment & Planning Agency (NEPA), Audubon Nature Institute, San Diego Zoo, and the Fort Worth Zoo!
The islands largest native land animal was once considered extinct. This effort is a testament what can be accomplished when people and organizations come together to save a species. We have not yet secured the future of Jamaican Iguanas in the wild, but we have great hope!
‪#‎savegoatislands‬

The Jamaican iguaua, Cyclura collei, is a critically endangered species from the Hellshire Hills in Portland Bight Protected Area, Jamaica. (Photo: Robin Moore)
The Jamaican iguaua, Cyclura collei, is a critically endangered species from the Hellshire Hills in Portland Bight Protected Area, Jamaica. (Photo: Robin Moore)

4 thoughts on “Of Water…and Iguanas

    1. Hi Deborah: Thanks for reading my blog! Water issues are really becoming pressing in many parts of the island, and it’s not likely to get any easier. I will drop you a line. All the best!

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