Sat | Jan 19, 2019

Earth Today | Canadian High Commission supports local conservation

Published:Thursday | May 17, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Springfield Beach in Rockfort receives a welcomed clean-up last month, as part of the Operation Clean Sweep project, which is funded by the Government of Canada through the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives. The project is to expose and train community members in plastic collection, reuse, storage and recycling.

FROM SUPPORTING community actions to taking stock of its own in-house operations, the Canadian High Commission has been helping Jamaica to realise environmental conservation.

Through the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI), it recently supported the SunFlower Environmental Foundation in its Operation Clean Sweep project, which works to enhance community capacity to deal with plastics, which are a significant source of marine pollution in Jamaica and the Caribbean.

"Through the CFLI, Canada is pleased to partner with organisations, such as SunFlower Environmental Foundation, to raise awareness of the importance of recycling. With their Operation Clean Sweep, community members in five communities in Kingston were engaged and trained on best practices in polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and expanded polystyrene (EPS) plastic collection, reuse, storage and recycling," Canadian High Commissioner to Jamaica Laurie Peters told The Gleaner recently.

For fiscal year 2017-2018, Canada's High Commission to Jamaica, through the CFLI, supported four projects in the sum of CAD$95,000. The projects focused on women and girls at risk, combating violence and corruption and the environment. The initiative with SunFlower Environmental Foundation was valued at over CAD$22,000.

"It was excellent help," said Stephen Newland, director of the SunFlower Foundation.

"Because of the support of the CFLI, we were able to successfully conduct the second phase of Operation Clean Sweep. In phase one, we collected 21.6 tonnes of EPT bottles across 25 communities in five parishes (Kingston, St Andrew, St Catherine, St James and Clarendon), and in phase two, we collected 22.7 tonnes of PET bottles across five communities (Rockfort, Stony Hill, Gordon Town, Linstead and Trench Town)," he added.

Phase one was supported by the United States Agency for International Development, and phase two by the Canadians, under the CFLI.

"So we stepped up big time. The community members were super zealous because for the second time, they were able to prove their worth, winning and getting prizes for their community centres. They also did a workshop at the Jamaica Conference Centre where they received certification in environmental training. And even citizens who didn't participate in the project have given us feedback and testimonial to say the communities look so much nicer, and have since joined in and done their part," Newland noted.


Example setting


Meanwhile, Canada is about practising what it preaches.

"The Canadian High Com-mission is also doing our part to take care of the local environ-ment. We have established our own Environmental Committee, and have undertaken several initiatives in-house, such as moderating air-conditioning temperatures, decreasing the use of paper products, and exploring the options of recycling. As diplomatic visitors or residents of Jamaica, we recognise that we all have a role to play in taking care of our communities," Peters noted.

Newland had high praise for their approach.

"Commissioner Peters actually came and participated in our beach clean in Rockfort in February. The community members were ecstatic that they had the high commissioner there and leading by example," he said.

The CFLI is designed to fund small-scale bilateral projects in Official Development Assistance eligible countries, which align with Global Affairs Canada's thematic priority areas for engagement. The programme is directed at projects conceived and designed by local entities.

It also supports positive bilateral relations between Canada, recipient countries and their respective civil societies by deepening contacts and supporting local endeavours.