On November 21, 2017, Jamaican Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Andrew Holness announced the designated Cockpit Country Protected Area (CCPA) boundary in Parliament. In his announcement, Prime Minister Holness said the area would comprise of approximately 74,726 hectares and will include existing forest reserves, significant hydrological and ecological features and cultural and heritage sites. Prime Minister Holness also indicated the CCPA would be closed to mining. Although boundaries of the CCPA have been designated, the protected area has not yet been declared and closed to mining under law. To do this, the Government of Jamaica must ground-truth the designated CCPA boundary (i.e. on-the-ground verification), and the boundary be gazetted, before the mining act can amended. Meanwhile, bauxite prospecting and mining has been expanding in Cockpit Country communities which were left out of the designated protected area. Since the Prime Minister’s 2017 announcement, new mining leases have been granted by the Government of Jamaica which will allow bauxite companies to mine right up to the edge of the CCPA boundary.
Through the Advancing the Protection of Jamaica’s Cockpit Country project (2018 – 19) JET continues to advocate for an expedited ground-truthing of the Cockpit Country Protected Area boundary, establishment of buffer zones around the protected area which are also closed to mining and quarrying, and the involvement of civil society and local communities in management planning for the CCPA. Since the Prime MInister’s 2017 announcment, JET has:
- Strengthened relationships with communities in and around the Cockpit Country Protected Area (CCPA), through a series of meetings in and around the Cockpit Country
- Liaised with government stakeholders involved in the process towards the declaration of the CCPA, including stakeholder meetings with civil society, legal and scientific reviews of related government documents
- Submitted numerous requests to the government for information on the process towards the protection of the Cockpit Country under law and the activities of mining companies nearby the designated CCPA boundary
- Developed and disseminated public education materials including audio-visual productions, graphics, maps, written briefings and online content on the importance of protecting the Cockpit Country and closing it to mining through the Save Cockpit Country campaign
The Advancing the Protection of Jamaica’s Cockpit Country project is being delivered in partnership with the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide. For more information, check out the Save Cockpit Country campaign website here.