Pedasí Mayor’s Office Approves Environmental Plan

After a series of workshops and interviews with local stakeholders, the Municipal Council of the District of Pedasí approved its first Municipal Environmental Plan late last month. Once published in Panama’s Gaceta Oficial, the plan will be recognized as an official legal document.

Environmental plans at the municipal level are few and far between—only a handful have been approved in Panamá. Pedasí’s 153-page plan is the first of its kind in the Azuero. Initial consultations began in 2011, with authorities taking care to involve different parts of the community in the process.

“All residents of Pedasí are going to benefit from the plan,” says Belgis Madrid, Vice-Mayor of Pedasí.

Belgis Madrid solicits comments on the Environmental Plan c. Mark Waterman

The plan, which lays out an environmental action plan for the District over the next 10 years, has an estimated cost of 3.7 million dollars. In order to fund the ambitious projects described within the document, the district is counting on financial support from a number of NGO’s, governmental groups, international organizations, and private businesses.

“Finding funding is as much a challenge for the government as it is for civil organizations,” says Madrid. “It’s not difficult, but it is a challenge.”

The plan, with a stated goal of “bettering the lives of the rural population,” covers a wide variety of subjects and contains a lengthy initial analysis of the flora and fauna of the Pedasí district, complete with lists of prominent species of trees, birds, and mammals in the region.

The document then goes on to list several of the most pressing environmental problems in the region, including illegal hunting, illegal mangrove cutting, inadequate treatment of sewage, poor waste management facilities, illegal removal of sand from dunes, and pollution from use of agrochemicals.

Protection of local coastal areas is an important part of the plan c. Mark Waterman

The district has planned numerous projects aimed at solving each of these problems. However, most of the awaited funding will go towards improving sanitation in the district, with almost two million dollars set aside for improving management of waste and sewage.

The document also outlines smaller pilot projects aimed at promoting sustainable agriculture, creating sustainable cattle ranches, and promoting responsible fishing practices.

“In some cases the plan can offer solutions, in some cases it can offer ways to mitigate damage,” says Madrid. “It is always difficult to restore a degraded ecosystem.”

Though the plan is ambitious in its scope, the AEP applauds the efforts of the Municipal Council, and we are excited to work with the mayor’s office as we continue to fight to protect and preserve the local environment.

The Pedasí mayor’s office will be presenting the Municipal Environmental Plan to the public in a meeting at the AEP offices on Monday, September 16 at 5:00 PM.

To request a copy of the Municipal Environmental Plan, send an e-mail to mark@proecoazuero.org

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