SANTO DOMINGO.- Dominican Republic’s sustained growth throughout more than 50 years hasn’t had a significant impact in the eradication of poverty, and has been reached at the cost of a deteriorated natural resources base on which present and future Dominicans depend.
Environment minister Omar Ramirez made the statement yesterday, who also affirmed that the country needs to harness the development of alternative forms of tourism, such as eco-tourism, to preserve the environment and create ecological awareness in tourists and the population.
He said as head of the work group created by president Leonel Fernandez to identify the interventions needed to reach the Milennium Development Objectives, Environment proposed a shift where the environment and the conservation of resources are seen based on the economic returns and environmental assets and services they can generate.
The official spoke to open a seminar on the “Organization of the territory as instrument for sustainable development” hosted yesterday by the Environment and Economy ministries with the support of Spain’s International Cooperation Agency (AECID).
He said although the increase in tourism has benefitted the economy and Dominican society, he must consider the ecosystems’ load-bearing capacity to assure environmental and economic sustainability for the coming generations. “Aside from securing the natural potentialities, it’s we need to confront the serious environmental problems derived from the population’s pressure, mainly in the urban centers, the problems of deforestation, depletion of hydric resources, water quality and deterioration of the coastal ecosystems.”
The seminar-workshop’s objective is that all government agencies, local governments, business and civil society agree on an environmental agenda and territorial organization, that allows Dominican Republic to comply with the international environmental sustainability standards.