Forum Haiti : Des Idées et des Débats sur l'Avenir d'Haiti

Forum Haiti : Des Idées et des Débats sur l'Avenir d'Haiti

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 Latibonit ap fe Ayisien ak Dominiken viv.

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Date d'inscription : 02/03/2007

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MessageSujet: Latibonit ap fe Ayisien ak Dominiken viv.   Jeu 20 Déc 2007 - 1:12

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No agriculture means no life for border communities -
DominicanToday.com
December 19, 2007

LAS LAGUNAS, Elias Pina.-
For years, Mario Nova Alamis has watched the small tributary of the Macasa River that flows through his community slow to a brown trickle, clogged with earth washed down from the mountains of the
Sierra de Neiba. The only time it truly flows is during the rainy season, when the water comes rushing down the bare slopes in torrents, drowning crops and washing out the only road in and out of the village. This is fertile ground, perfect for growing giant avocados, coffee, black beans, and bananas, but every year a little more of it gets swept away, making it difficult for the people of Las Lagunas, the poorest community in Elias Pina province, to rely on agriculture for their livelihood. Yet Nova knows that without agriculture, there is no life in this isolated valley: since his wife died, he's been raising their eight children alone on a farmer's income.
Nova and his family are just one example of how people on both sides of this central portion of the border between the Dominican Republic and Haiti have become trapped in a downward spiral of environmental degradation and deepening poverty. Las Lagunas and its tributary comprise a small corner of the hugely complex Artibonito River watershed, which has recently become the focus of a bi-national project to rehabilitate the river and its headwaters and change the way land and water resources are used in this part of the island.
NGOs, government committees, and community organizations from both Haiti and the Dominican Republic have just five years and 10 million dollars from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to develop and implement new models of sustainable agriculture, forestry and water consumption that will ensure the future survival of the Artibonito watershed and the hundreds of thousands of people who rely on it.

Anatomy of a watershed
Although there are many rivers in the Dominican Republic in desperate need of intervention, the Artibonito was chosen because it is truly a binational river, according to Mark Newton, coordinator of the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives in the Dominican Republic. The Artibonito itself forms part of the Dominican-Haitian border from the Nalga de Maco nature preserve in the (Cordillera) Central Mountain Range to just north and west of the Comendador/Belladere crossing, about 40 kilometers away. The entire watershed, which includes the MacasÃa River and its tributaries, drains an area of about 10,000 square kilometers, three-quarters of which is in Haiti, below the Peligre Dam.

But the Artibonito has several important sources in the Dominican Republic, and it is there, high in the mountains, that the trouble begins. Years of heavy commercial deforesting and poor agricultural practices such as slash and burn harvesting on the fertile slopes of the Sierra de Neiba have left them vulnerable to erosion, particularly during the rainy season. With no underground root networks to absorb rainwater and hold the soil in place, it is washed into the streams and carried away.

The Las Caas River merges with the Macasa west of Las Matas. Northwest of Comendador, three tributaries Comendador, Alonzo, and Las Aguas drain the Sierra de Neiba into the Macasa just a few kilometers short of where it joins the Artibonito.

From there, the Artibonito flows south into Haiti's Paredon Lake
and the Peligre Dam, where it becomes the main source of electricity for the entire city of Port-au-Prince.

By the time it reaches the dam, the Artibonito is carrying such a heavy silt
load that the dam has already lost 30 years of its useful life.
The bottom fills up,as Newton explains. You have less water going through, therefore you have less electricity production.
You also have less flood control.

If the current pattern of deforestation, erosion and siltation continues,
experts estimate the Artibonito could divide into three separate rivers. Newton says avoiding that possibility is of critical importance to Haiti, which depends on its largest river for agriculture as well as power.

The Dominican Republic has a stake in the preservation of the Artibonito watershed as well: they are losing perfectly good earth in a preventable cycle that is threatening the livelihood of poor farmers like Mario Nova.

In order to save the Artibonito watershed, the intervention will have to focus on solving the problem at its source.

Saving the river

The process of saving the Artibonito started in 2003 with a proposal by the Dominican government. Luis Espinosa, project director from the Dominican Environment Ministry, says the agency was concerned about the degree to which the border region between the Sierra de Neiba and the Central Mountain Range had been deforested, and also wanted to do something to help improve conditions in Haiti and build solidarity along the border.

The project was approved for funding by the Canadian government in 2003 and officially got underway in 2005, but with a much smaller budget than the Dominican government had initially anticipated.

From an original estimate of more than 100 million dollars for the complete restoration of the watershed, the project now has a budget of 10 million dollars, to be divided evenly between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, €" four million each for studies and capacity-building, two million each to be put into an Artibonito Fund, which will be distributed to NGOs, community groups, and government committees for the implementation of small, self-sustaining projects.

10 million dollars is a drop in the bucket, as Newton explains.
If you don't focus on a specific area and try to provide an example of how things could be done differently to break that downward spiral and produce environmental benefits, then it will just be dispersed, and you'll have a lot of initiatives that may be doing something good but won't offer any strategic value.

To be eligible for funding, a proposed micro-project must be able to
realistically achieve one of three broader goals for the entire initiative:
support sustainable production in either agriculture or forestry; build
infrastructure to benefit the host communities such as roads and aqueducts; and educate community members about sustainable resource management and infrastructure maintenance so they will be able to continue the initiative after the funding runs out.

Of the three, Newton says education is the most important, because it is what will enable communities like Las Lagunas to gradually break their dependence on NGOs and foreign aid and become self-sufficient in the long run.

During the project, NGOs and government groups will work closely with farmer' cooperatives and other community organizations to make sure good practices are kept up in the future.

They are the ones that are using the resources or they have direct
influence on the people that are using them, but often they lack organizational skills, or they lack a results-oriented approach to getting their work done. So they may do a workshop, but they don't think about what that workshop is designed to achieve, they may not have the right methodology.

The non-governmental Foundation for the Cultural, Social and Educational
Development of the Border Region (FUNDECESFRON) is one of the organizations that will be focusing their participation in the project almost exclusively on education.

According to executive director Francisco Paulino, that will mean
teaching the farmers of Las Lagunas how to make and use organic rather than chemical pesticides, and how to diversify their crops to preserve soil integrity and ensure they always have a product that will generate income for the community.

Part of the funding will also give Las Lagunas a paved road, so the
rainy season will no longer mean endless days when farmers are unable to reach the market 13 kilometers away.

Mario Nova is one of two community leaders who will ensure that the new
practices are kept up once FUNDECESFRON has moved on. He is looking forward to getting started in a couple of months' time. He knows this project will mean that someday his river will flow consistently and that means everything.
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Sasaye
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Date d'inscription : 02/03/2007

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MessageSujet: Re: Latibonit ap fe Ayisien ak Dominiken viv.   Jeu 20 Déc 2007 - 1:20

Si tou de peyi sou zile la pa pran swen LATIBONIT, tout moun ap chire.
Mwen pa t konnen enpotans estrategik Latibonit te genyen.

Li kapab ini de peyi yo.
Li kapab yon zam pou Ayiti ou byen Dominikani.

Se pou nou veye paske gen anpil rapo lan plisyè peyi ki longe dwèt sou dlo kom lakos anpil konfli dan lavni, lè dlo komanse ap manke.
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