The Dominican Republic’s IWEco National sub-Project was launched on 1st April 2019 in Santo Domingo.  

The Launch was organized by the executing agency, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources and was well attended by government representatives, a wide range of stakeholders and the media. 

The Regional Project Coordinator provided an overview of the Regional Project, following which Patricia Abreu, Global Environment Facility (GEF) Focal Point for the Dominican Republic, and Vice-Minister in the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, made a presentation on the National sub-Project.  The Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Angel Estevez, made the feature address which was well received by all present.  There seemed to be considerable interest in the Project and several persons from within the target watershed were also present. 

The Dominican Republic’s IWEco National sub-Project is titled: “Integrated Management of the Biodiversity, Freshwater and Land Resources of the Higüamo River Watershed and its Associated Coastal Zone, including Mitigating Climate Change Impacts.”

It  aims to conserve, protect and guarantee the sustainable use of the water, land and biodiversity resources of the Higüamo River watershed and its estuarine zone to ensure the region’s future economic development, for the benefit of current and future generations, and to protect and rehabilitate selected ecosystems of the watershed and its associated coastal zone from further damaging anthropogenic activities and the effects of global warming.

The lack of appropriate policy, legal and institutional frameworks undermine the implementation of an integrated management plan for the watershed and its associated coastal area.  Serious water and land pollution problems are the greatest threat to the sustainability of the biodiversity of this important region.  A comprehensive, cross-sectoral approach is needed that effectively engages stakeholders by producing concrete benefits leading to improved livelihoods, including improved provision of ecosystem services, greater economic opportunities and a healthier environment in which to live.

In addition to its primary focus on the conservation and sustainable use of the watershed’s biodiversity, the Government of the Dominican Republic has indicated that 27,574.12 hectares, or 275.4 km2,of existing forest cover in the Higüamo River watershed will be protected and sustainably managed through the project.  Moreover, the project will support the reforestation of 500 hectares, largely mangroves that are the habitat for a great deal of biodiversity, including endemic species.  These actions will provide significant contributions to mitigating the impacts of climate change by maintaining 965,097 tons of retained carbon in existing forests and sequestering another 1,750  through reforestation, for a total of 966,847 tons of retained carbon.