Ecuadorian Government Backs Process to Create Cajas Biosphere Reserve
|The reserve will seek the protection of biodiversity and the environmental services provided by paramo, cloud forest, tropical forest and mangrove ecosystems
NCI’s new office in Azuay province is helping to guide the process for the declaration of Ecuador’s fifth UNESCO biosphere reserve, which would be the first located in the extremely threatened western foothills of the Andes. National support for this initiative was officially achieved last month through the signing of an agreement driven by NCI by a number of Ecuadorian agencies including the Ministry of Environment, the Secretariat of National Planning, the Provincial Government of Azuay, the Municipality of Cuenca, the Water Supply Company of Cuenca, GIZ and NCI, which is committed to providing institutional support, as well as the technical and political support leading up to the official declaration by UNESCO.
This proposal will include the Cajas National Park as a core area and will seek the protection of biodiversity and the environmental services provided by paramo, cloud forest, tropical forest and mangrove ecosystems. In addition to the spectacular richness and endemism of the flora and fauna in this region, these ecosystems provide water resources for over 1 million people, plus the provision of 1,100 megawatts of hydroelectric power and support for productive systems such as cocoa, bananas, and shrimp. Biosphere reserves are places that seek the promotion of sustainable development and scientific research, the protection of natural resources and local cultures and the demonstration of practices that can improve the livelihood of local people. Prior to this agreement, NCI promoted the formation of a Technical Committee that has been working on the preparation of the official proposal to be submitted to UNESCO in late 2011.
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