UN Project to Benefit Cuban Marine Areas

Pinar del Río, Cuba, Jul 30 (Prensa Latina) Marine areas in Pinar del Rio, in western Cuba, will benefit from an international project funded by the Global Environment Fund (GEF), which supports environmental research and initiatives in those areas.

Four protected areas of this western region have been included in the GEF program, which will allocate over five million USD to Cuba in five years.

These areas include the ecological reserve Los Pretiles that is home to populations of manatees, a mammalian endangered species, the San Felipe National Park, islets where seven species of sea turtles nest.

The Guanacabibes Peninsula, a biosphere reserve, is another site chosen for the implementation of the project that will also include the floral reserve Sabanalamar-San Ubaldo, home to a peculiar forest on white sand, as well as exclusive Cuban flora.

Martha Rosa Acosta, an expert of the Provincial Environmental Department, explained that monitoring of birds, turtles, lobsters and other species of the fauna in those sites has already begun.

A main objective of this experience is the creation of new protected areas or the extension of those already in place, as Guanahacabibes, now including the San Antonio bank, with exceptional coral reef and a vast fauna, she said. Activities include environmental awareness campaign to curb illegal or indiscriminate fishing.

Despite being frequently hit by hurricanes, ecosystems in the province are in good health, thanks to strategies and regulations designed to protect them.

Several UN agencies are in charge of GEFâ�Ös technical consultancy, scientific support and fund management.

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