Science vs. Climate Change

The project board my coastwhich was implemented within the framework of the 14th International Convention on Environment and Development, which concluded yesterday, revealed the promising progress that the country has begun to show to improve the resilience of coastal ecosystems and communities, in the face of climate change.

The actions aimed at achieving the declared goal, set forth in the project, will be carried out for eight years (until 2028), in two sections covering seven provinces, 24 municipalities and seven settlements, along 1,300 kilometers of coastline in southern Cuba.

As Jose Manuel Guzmán Menendez, General Manager of my coastThe first stretch of intervention includes the southern coast regions of Pinar del Río, Artemisa and Mayapeake, while the second includes the regions of Ciego de Avila, Camaguey, Las Tunas and Granma.

So far, he noted, they’ve worked on Artemisa, Mayabeque, and Granma. He added that in the case of the first two areas mentioned, the experiences gained from the completed Living Mangrove project were vital in planning and implementing the actions that have been implemented to rehabilitate mangroves and other coastal ecosystems.

Co-financed by the Green Climate Fund, a financial mechanism of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and several national organizations, Mi Costa intends to contribute to the restoration of about 11,000 hectares of mangroves, of which 1,800 are swamp forests and 900 are swamps. grasslands, as well as more than a hundred kilometers of coral reefs and more than 9,000 hectares of seagrass.

This will promote the restoration of the natural protective barriers of the coast, in the event of strong tsunamis, caused by hurricanes and other meteorological events, while preventing the effects of coastal erosion processes.

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Similarly, the scientist explained, it will increase the adaptive capacity of societies, especially in vulnerable situations, as sea levels rise.

Guzmán Menéndez explained that the selection of sections responded to the request of the Ministry of Science, Technology and the Environment (Citma), taking into account the results of the overall project on coastal risks and vulnerabilities for the years 2050-2100.

This means that the protection and rehabilitation of the ecosystems that protect the coast and the creation of capacities at the level of governments and local communities, are pillars of poor importance in the project, the implementing entity of which is the United Nations Development Programme, with the technical management of the Institute of Marine Sciences (Icimar) of the Environment Agency Citma.

Enhance resilience

José Manuel Guzmán highlighted the support he received from the agroforestry companies and the staff of the four MPAs, located in the intervention areas, in this first phase of the project.

“Although much remains to be done, there are tangible results in restoring water flows to the coastal region through cleaning and maintenance of canals and trenches, as well as eliminating small dumps and other sources of pollution.”

He stressed that hundreds of hectares of mangrove swamps and swamp forests have been rehabilitated, while the presence of invasive alien species has decreased.

One of the essential aspects of the planned work relates to the gradual reduction of over-exploitation of groundwater resources in those places.

With regard to the personnel involved, Guzmán Menéndez indicated the creation of 31 technical training centers and adjoining classrooms, where 72 community leaders, Citma specialists and provincial and municipal experts have been trained, contributing to the strengthening of monitoring and knowledge management systems, with a focus on measuring the real resilience of coastal settlements to the impacts of climate change. the climate.

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The project will benefit just over 1.3 million people, of whom about 500,000 directly, and will support through its activities the implementation of the State Plan to Confront Climate Change (Tarea Vida) in the most vulnerable municipalities of the southern coast of Cuba.

It will, in the same way, contribute to achieving the goals of sustainable development set out in the National Economic and Social Development Plan until 2030, and with the updated guidelines of the party’s economic and social policy.

According to the MSc, the natural protection of the coastal settlements included in the project has been damaged for many years by logging, land-use changes, pollution and urbanization, among other factors.

He pointed out that the results of the investigations conducted in recent years confirm that the main problems posed by the coastal wetlands included in the intervention areas are the reduction of the mangrove edge and its forests and the noticeable changes in their composition.

Besides promoting resilience and adaptation to climate change, the Mi Costa project becomes a very useful tool for the development of the local community, by uniting all actors in order to move towards an efficient and sustainable socio-economic model.

The latest estimates of the average sea level rise in the Cuban archipelago, in the years 2050 and 2100, are already of the order of 29 and 95 cm (higher figures than those projected in the first decade of this century), hence the priority given by the State to the project my coast.

In the context of
  • Mangroves are among the most striking forest formations in the landscape, today occupying about 5.1% of the total area of ​​our archipelago and are most representative of the backwaters of the Caribbean.
  • They are of great value for biodiversity, as they constitute an ideal haven, where fish, molluscs, crustaceans, reptiles, birds and mammals live and breed, in addition to serving as a natural buffer against sea level rise and mitigating the effects of storms and strong tides.
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