The issues in the border zone of Haiti and the Dominican Republic are perceived in different ways by people living and working in the region. Some feel that despite the problems that may arise here, the area provides an opportunity for the people of our two countries to cooperate, share experiences and find joint solutions to shared problems. At the same time, others consider the border zone as a region where development opportunities are limited by poverty and isolation.
Notwithstanding these different perspectives, addressing the challenges in the border zone is important not only for the development of local communities but also for the implementation of cooperation strategies and joint initiatives between the two countries. For this reason, the governments, development actors, and civil society in both countries have strengthened their efforts in the border zone and are building on successful initiatives that have already taken place.
Among these efforts, we would like to mention those initiatives adopted at both the community and government levels that seek to address the diverse challenges in the border zone, some of which have stemmed from the short-sighted exploitation of natural resources. At the same time, we welcome the efforts of the Joint Dominican-Haitian Bilateral Commission, a flagship initiative which will guide the implementation of joint interventions in the border zone. This initiative, which originates from the highest levels of both States, has catalyzed the development of an increasing number of binational programs.
In the environmental sector, momentum for joint programs has also grown. On 16 May 2011, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of the Dominican Republic, the Ministry of Environment of Haiti, and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs signed a Declaration of Intent, in Ouanaminthe, for the Triangular Cooperation between the three parties, to support the Frontera Verde Programme. The first step in this cooperation was to implement the first phase of the Transboundary Natural Resource Management and Restoration Project, focusing on the Massacre and Pedernales Watersheds. Technical support in the implementation of this work is being provided by UNEP and UNDP. This commitment further highlights the willingness of our two governments to jointly address the problems associated with natural resource management in the border zone.