PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Thursday December 17, 2015 – Haiti will improve watersheds management especially in rural areas, mitigating the risk of natural disasters associated with climate change with a US$42 million grant from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
The grant will seek to increase capacities for adaptation to climate change and disaster risk management in the agriculture sector; improve water and sediment conservation in selected gullies of priority watersheds including the Centre-Artibonite Loop area; reduce risk of rural economic losses due to floods in targeted watersheds; and restore the educational capacity of the Faculty of Agronomy and Veterinary Medicine.
Haiti is one of the countries with the highest natural disaster risk index in the world, and its agricultural sector is especially vulnerable to natural disasters because of its geography and reliance on activities closely linked to climate factors.
Eighty per cent of the country is mountainous with 30 main watersheds and just 28 per cent arable land, which is concentrated in irrigated valleys. Its location within the Caribbean’s hurricane belt, its mountainous terrain, and severe deforestation, combined with its reliance on agriculture make it particularly susceptible to flooding.
Agriculture contributes to 25 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product, 5.9 per cent of total exports value, 47 per cent of overall employment and 71 per cent of employment in rural areas. Haiti currently suffers some US$28 million in annual expected losses for four watersheds targeted by the project, and climate-hazardous events are likely to increase as global temperatures rise.
A portion of the funding for the project comes from the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR) under the global Climate Investment Funds (CIF).