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sustainable financing plan for jamaica’s system of protected areas (JPAS)

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The Financial Sustainability Plan for the Protected Areas System of Jamaica intends to guide an integrated process to ensure long-term and stable funding for the Jamaican Protected Areas System (JPAS). It will be integrated into the Protected Areas System Master Plan (PASMP).

The plan is based on a comprehensive view of costs and benefits, ensuring that those who bear protected area costs are recognised and adequately compensated, and that those who benefit from protected areas (PAs) make a fair contribution to their maintenance. In Jamaica more than 90% of the tourists are concentrated within and around some of the most important PAs. Tourism alone contributes to 50% of the country's exports, almost 22% of the GDP and 32% of the labour force. Considering that this economic activity depends directly on the quality, attributes and features of PAs, it can be affirmed that according to the financial analysis presented in this plan every dollar (United States Dollar – USD) invested in the PA system would generate an additional one hundred dollars (USD 100) to the Jamaican economy. This is certainly an extraordinary investment opportunity not only from a private or public sector perspective, but also mostly from a social perspective considering its enormous contribution to job creation.

Current funding for PAs worldwide is mostly public and philanthropic. The latter is not stable and long-term oriented, and in countries where an important percentage of the population lives in poverty, governments are often forced to cut their environmental budgets in favour of other priorities. Restricted budgets and public sector reforms have resulted in the rapid decline of single-source income from the national Treasury to support protected area management. Competition for scarce financial resources is fierce and the immediate financial future of most protected areas in developing countries is still in doubt. Alternative strategies and innovative approaches to finance conservation are urgently needed to reduce or halt the current rate of biodiversity loss.

Without sufficient stable and long-term oriented resources it is impossible to equitably and effectively manage biodiversity. Sustainable financing strategies for protected area systems are more critical than ever to ensure sustainability from an ecological and social perspective. Furthermore, protected area agencies are often ill-equipped to respond to income generating opportunities that PAs provide through consumptive and non-consumptive uses of biodiversity. Securing adequate funds is a necessary but not sufficient condition, it is also important to consider the quality, form, timing, targeting, uses and sources of funding. This plan intends to help build the capacity required to make the best use of a variety of discrete tools and revenue mechanisms that are responsive to the Jamaican situation.

According to the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), financial sustainability is achieved when a protected area system is able to secure sufficient and stable resources over the long term to meet its total costs. PA financial sustainability can also be defined as the ability to secure sufficient, stable and long-term financial resources, and to allocate them in a timely manner and in an appropriate form, to cover the full costs of PAs and to ensure that PAs are managed effectively and efficiently with respect to conservation and other objectives. In short, financial sustainability is not possible without strong and effective institutions for PA management.

In the long term, financial sustainability should go beyond ensuring resources to bridge its financial gap, it should seek the possibility to allow and facilitate effective participation of the different stakeholders of PA conservation in Jamaica. With these characteristics in mind the strategy's approach is to use the enormous opportunities for synergies and learning, based on the existence of such a complex web of institutional memory and broader stakeholder involvement.

The JPAS sustainable finance process also responds to Jamaica's international commitments to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The 7th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP-7) to the CBD adopted a Programme of Work on Protected Areas (PoW) with the overall purpose of supporting the establishment and maintenance of comprehensive, effectively managed, and ecologically representative national and regional systems of PAs. Goal 3.4 of the PoW is to "ensure financial sustainability of Protected Areas and national and regional systems of Protected Areas." It specifies that "by 2008, sufficient resources to meet the costs to effectively implement and manage national and regional systems of Protected Areas are secured." Proposed activities include reviewing national-level PA financing needs and options, establishing national sustainable financing plans, multi-country collaboration in developing sustainable financing programmes for regional and international systems of PAs, reporting on PA financing, and mainstreaming PA into development planning.

The above decisions do not make the finance available, nor do they directly address the problems, but they do express the concerns of the representatives of the Parties to the Convention about priorities. They create the context within which funding agencies' decisions are made and demonstrate that sustainable protected area financing has risen to the top of the global PA agenda.

This document defines a comprehensive approach in two areas: an enabling environment to facilitate financial sustainability, and appropriately addressing both supply and demand aspects of the conservation finance equation. The document is divided into three parts, the first part presents the results of the Financial Needs Assessment (FNA), and the second part presents a strategic diagnosis based on the results of the application of a financial scorecard for PA financial sustainability. Finally, the third part presents the strategic approach, specific objectives and activities to be implemented.

This plan is part of a process that pursues overall institutional strengthening to move towards a systemic PA management approach.

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