Salybia, Dominica, 15 April 2021—The UNDP Project Office in Dominica has launched a new project in the Kalinago Territory, with an opening ceremony at the Kalinago Barana Autê. Strengthening Sustainable Livelihoods and Resilience in the Kalinago Territory officially started in February 2021 and will run for 18-months ending in June 2022. The initiative which is funded by the Government of India under the India-UN Development Partnership Fund is facilitated by UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean and lead implementing local partners including the Ministry of the Environment, Rural Modernisation and Kalinago Upliftment and the Kalinago Council, with the support of the Ministry of Blue and Green and Economy, Agriculture and Food Security, and the Ministry of Tourism, International Transport and Maritime Initiatives. The mammoth project received USD 1 Million from the Indian Government with the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica contributing approximately USD 331,000 and allocating approximately 11.2 acres of land.
In line with UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean’s commitment to building resilience and promoting sustainable development for indigenous people and vulnerable groups, the USD 1.3 million dollar project aims to strengthen the livelihoods and resilience of the Kalinago Territory. The four focal areas of the project include strengthening sustainable agricultural production and practices; designing and implementing community reforestation programmes to protect livelihoods and water catchment areas; developing a comprehensive gender-sensitive tourism strategy and Kalinago brand; and boosting institutional capacities of the Kalinago Council for inclusive decision making and planning.
In attendance at the launch event and speaking on the project, Hon. Cozier Frederick Minister for Environment, Rural Modernisation and Kalinago Upliftment stated, “ The coining of the project here is very very clear. It tells us something we have discounted a lot in the conversation about the Kalinago people…they are resilient; they have been able to sustain themselves for millenia and a project like this only magnifies it."
Under the agricultural component the project will provide equipment and materials, where needed, to support the Government’s final construction and implementation of a Climate Smart Agricultural Research Station. This component will also provide technical expertise for product development and marketing of cassava and cassava value added products, a traditionally important crop in Kalinago culture. Small grants will also be provided to support Kalinago farmers with cassava cultivation and product development.
Deforestation is a critical issue confronting the Kalinago Territory, and as such the government is providing support to demarcate some of the major activities important to the livelihood of the Territory such as agriculture, tourism and social forestry in order to provide a management structure that would decrease the risk of further deforestation. Activities under the livelihoods and reforestation project component will complement government’s activities and include the update of a reforestation strategy for the Kalinago Territory, a gender balanced livelihoods programme for reforestation and community plant nurseries.
The third project component will support the design of a gender sensitive tourism strategy for the Kalinago Territory focusing on three areas:
- an indigenous tourism route/experience in the Kalinago Territory that supports both culture and long-term business potential,
- a gender sensitive tourism infrastructure plan,
- a Kalinago tourism brand package.
Training modules will also be developed to support the enhancement of capacities in areas linked to tourism attraction, management and service orientation. All plans will be gender sensitive and secure equitable opportunities for women and men and ensure that they are equally involved in decision making and design.
Component 4 will provide institutional support to the Kalinago Council, and will support the exchange of experiences and best practices by the participation of the Kalinago council in regional and international forums and conferences on Indigenous People. Key Kalinago planning documents will also be reviewed, Kalinago council archives will be digitized to secure the historic memory of the Kalinago Council and equipment will be provided to support the digital transformation.
At this time when exogenous threats like COVID-19 and the current volcanic eruption in St Vincent and the Grenadines, it is vital that developmental efforts are continued to reinforce the need to for regional resilience building and building forward better. This project is part of the work of UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean in its commitment to promoting economic diversification, job creation and resilience with the "Blue Economy for Green Islands" vision. As the Caribbean continues to seek solutions to build resilience and livelihoods for traditionally vulnerable groups, UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, in partnership with governments and stakeholders, remains dedicated to the advancement of inclusive and sustainable development throughout the region and building resilient communities that can withstand shocks and crises through targeted projects and programmes.
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