Integrating the Management of Watersheds and Coastal Areas in Haïti. A National Report

This paper represents the Haiti National Report prepared in the context of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) approved Project Development Facility Block B (PDF B) entitled Integrating Watershed and Coastal Areas Management in Small Island Developing States in the Caribbean whose major objective is to identify common problems and specific recommendations to be included in a future full-scale project intended to improve watershed and coastal zone policy and practices in support of sustainable development in the region. The PDF –B was implemented under the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) with the Caribbean Environmental Health Institute (CEHI) designated as the Executing Agency.

Haiti is being experienced major alterations of its watersheds and coastal areas as a result of intensifying and unregulated human pressure due to increasing population. The latter associated with poverty create several stresses on the environment as the demand for natural resources rises. The ability of the environment to provide fundamental ecological services, goods for the benefit of current and future generations is seriously compromised. Lands are extremely eroded and poverty reduction strategy is being undermined by the continuing degradation of soils, the loss of forest cover, the loss of biological diversity at the genetic, species and ecosystem level and the increasing scarcity of fresh water. In fact, the population’s needs for safe water supply and sanitation waste disposal system are being expanded. Hydrologic regime of the most part of Haiti’s rivers has been severely disturbed. Most parts of the Haitian population lives in environmentally vulnerable areas such as steep slopes, flood plains and valleys etc. As a result, they are at greater risk from natural disasters and severe weather.

Mangrove forests and coral reefs are being cleared and destroyed. Many forms of coastal disturbance stem from physical developments associated with urban developments and maritime activities. Coastal environments are under pressure from human activities leading to pollution. Continental drainage carries effluents of the sea from urban sewage and some industrial activities. Plastic containers, faecal bacteria and heavy metals affect the quality of many coastal ecosystems. Transboundary threats associated with watersheds and coastal zones are a great concern.

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