A New Twist to the Goat Islands Debate
19 June 2014. Lionel Town, Clarendon, Jamaica — The Caribbean Coastal Area Management Foundation (C-CAM) announced today that the Conservation Strategy Fund (CSF) has started work on a cost-effectiveness comparison of the proposed construction of a transshipment port and logistics hub at the Goat Islands in the Portland Bight Protected Area.
“The proposal by China Harbour Engineering Company to develop a port in this area is very controversial; seemingly pitting environmentalists against economic development,” said Ingrid Parchment, Executive Director of C-CAM, the main environmental NGO working in the Portland Bight Protected Area.
“C-CAM is concerned that there has been a lot of discussion on this issue, but very few facts have been presented. That’s why we have contracted the CSF to carry out an independent study,” she noted.
CSF is an internationally recognised organisation that has worked on similar large infrastructure projects around the world.
“They will compare the economic and environmental costs of the development at Goat Islands with two other sites. This should place the debate on a more rational footing,” Parchment noted.
CSF Chief Executive Officer John Reid has indicated there is no question of the importance of having the work done.
“We recognise that Jamaica’s economy is in a very critical state and new investments are urgently needed. That makes it even more important that Jamaica should not make any mistakes as it pursues major developments, such as the proposed port,” he said.
“Most people recognise the global importance of the biodiversity of the Portland Bight Protected Area. What they want to know is whether any sacrifices will be necessary or worth it. Our job is to provide the best available data so that Jamaica can make an informed decision about this development. We have done similar work elsewhere, including helping the Government of Panama to choose the best option for widening the canal,” Reid added.
The CSF study — funding for which is being provided by the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund — will be completed by September 2014. It will include assessment of the three potential sites for the port and hub, comparison of the differences in costs, modeling of the impacts, valuation of the ecological costs and consultations with stakeholders.
CSF’s work will bring a new perspective to the highly controversial debate.
“This is not about iguanas versus development,” said Parchment. “It is about sustainability, survival and the legacy we want to leave for our children.”
The Caribbean Coastal Area Management Foundation (www.ccam.org.jm) is an environmental NGO that is based in Lionel Town, Clarendon. They manage three special Fishery Management Areas in the Portland Bight Protected Area, and work to promote conservation and sustainable development throughout the protected area.
About the Conservation Strategy Fund
The Conservation Strategy Fund is an international NGO with offices in the USA, Central America, South America, and Africa. CSF is the leading organisation advancing conservation solutions powered by economics. CSF analysts have proven the value of protected areas, shown how to build infrastructure at lower costs and with less damage, and nurtured local sustainable businesses. Over $20 billion in development investments have been impacted, resulting in improved conservation of over 20 million acres. Their programmes have reached more than 2,000 professionals in over 650 organisations, based in 90+ countries. Their website is http://conservation-strategy.org.
For further information, contact:
Ann Sutton Ph.D.