The Dominican and Haitian governments agreed to work together to confront the health and food supply crises, and to create economic alternatives for the livelihood of the inhabitants near lakes Enriquillo and Azuei. Dominican Environment minister Jaime David Fernández Mirabal and his Haiti counterpart Jean Marie Claude signed an agreement in Barahona, Dominican Republic, to conduct cross-border reforestation with native varieties in river basins in order to retain rainwater, lower the drainage rate, and halt erosion.
Moreover, the ministers also agreed to halt the extraction of sand from open quarries in the areas of Fonds-Parisien and Fonds-Bayard and to proceed with the cleanup of the Malpaso and Jimaní zones, as well as to adopt measures for sustainable development. “To consolidate the execution of these actions, the ministers agreed to seek cooperation from international agencies such as the United Nations Program for Development and the United Nations Program for the Environment, among others, to continue the efforts and launch economic and social development programs in those communities,” says the statement signed during the Bi-national Forum on the Problems of Lakes Azuei and Enriquillo.
Lake Enriquillo is one of only a few saltwater lakes in the world inhabited by crocodiles. It is located in a rift valley that extends 79 miles from Port-au-Prince Bay in Haiti to near Neiba Bay in the Dominican Republic. Lake Azuei is the largest lake in Haiti and a source of livelihoods for many. The lake’s waters have been rising for two years as a result of clogged drainage canals and deforested mountains that are no longer capable of absorbing rainfall.