Cuba Keeping an Eye on Climate Change Vulnerabilities

By Ana Laura Arbesu

Sept 10, Havana – With a strong investment program, the Cuban government is fighting climate change through plans considered vital for the country’s environmental protection policy.

‘Tarea Vida’ (Life Task) is the name of a megaproject to be implemented on the short (2020), mid (2030), long (2050) and very long (2100) terms in priority zones.

A result of a process involving scientific studies and technological innovation projects in recent years, the initiative consists of five strategic actions and eleven tasks aimed at counteracting the climate change effects in Cuba’s vulnerable areas.

The estimated average sea level rises (27 centimeters by the year 2050 and 85 cm by 2100) would entail a slow reduction of the archipelago surface and salinization of underground waters.

According to studies, 574 Cuban settlements would be considered vulnerable. Of them, 119 would be in a more unfavorable situation and 20 would disappear in the coming 80 years.

Faced with this reality, Tarea Vida program has been closely followed by local authorities after the Council of Ministers approved it as a strategy in 2017.

In fact, that top executive organ recently analyzed the progress of enviromental goals, especially those for the western province of Pinar del Río, which is vulnerable to rising sea levels in the low southern areas.

The authorities verified the relocation of houses in the localities of Punta de Cartas, San Juan y Martínez Municipality; La Bajada, Sandino Municipality; and Guane, a tobacco growing region.

Likewise, some ten hectares of mangrove will be replanted to protect the coast from rising sea levels.

At the meeting, the Cuban Minister of Sciences, Technology and Environment, Elba Rosa Perez, called the attention on the occurrence of irregular events in the Guanahacabibes Peninsula, a Biosphere Reserve located in Cuba’s westernmost region and home to many endemic flora and fauna species.

Among the most striking events she mentioned the emergence of new invasive exotic species, the effects on turtle nesting sites and the migration of the white pelican and the red crab.

‘Tarea Vida’ gives priority to 73 of Cuba’s 168 municipalities; 63 of them in coastal regions and 10 others inland.

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