Mr. Ainsley A. Henry, CEO & Conservator of Forests, has been elected as the new president of the Latin-American and Caribbean Forestry Commission (LACFC).
He will serve for a term of two years. Mr. Henry was elected unopposed during the opening ceremony of the 32nd session of the LACFC which is being hosted by Jamaica, virtually from September 6 to 10. Mr. Henry says his appointment as president of the commission is a recognition of the leadership role played by Jamaica in regional forestry matters.
“It builds on the work done by my predecessor, former Conservator of Forests, Marilyn Headley, when she was the vice president in the previous biennium. Jamaica will lead the commission over the next two years as we continue to highlight the role forests play in the achievement of the sustainable development goals and in combating climate change, even as we battle the scourge of Covid-19,” Mr. Henry shared.
Minister of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Pearnel Charles, Jr. has extended commendations to Mr. Henry on his appointment. Meanwhile Minister Charles said Jamaica continues to maximise and strengthen its forests as a key tool to tackle climate change. He noted that the country continues to strengthen its capacity to do carbon stock monitoring to determine the volumes of carbon stored by our forests as well as take tangible steps towards becoming REDD+ Ready so that Jamaica is able to secure financing for and through the forest sector.
He also noted that Jamaica has made great strides in advancing work to protect our mangroves and swamp forests, which are globally recognized for their importance in the fight against climate change. “Over 13,000 hectares of mangrove forests were assessed and this information is being used to prepare a National Mangrove Management Plan to ensure the effective management of this ecosystem”, Minister Charles said.
He also shared that in the last two years, more than 300 hectares have been reforested with at least 50 percent native trees. This, he noted, will strengthen the country’s efforts to build its climate resilience while encouraging the increase of biodiversity within our forests and the wider environment.
The LACFC, which meets biennually, advises the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) on the forestry programme to be developed for the Region. At the meeting, the member countries analyze important forestry issues as well as share knowledge and experiences.
A number of key issues impacting the forest sector will be discussed during the conference including COVID-19 impacts on the forest sector and communities, the new FAO strategic framework and forestry, access to climate and environmental finance, restoration of forests and other ecosystems and integrated fire management.