ANTANANARIVO – The United States and Madagascar are using information technology to protect and save Madagascar’s celebrated biodiversity and environmental resources through a new website that will improve collaboration, knowledge sharing, and decision-making among environmental stakeholders by bringing together a wide array of data and other useful information in one place.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) on December 2 handed over the new ‘Hay Natiora’ portal to Madagascar’s National Office for the Environment (ONE), which will administer the site. The portal will facilitate evidence-based decision making by natural resources managers, researchers, and development policy makers and planners, particularly in the areas of conservation and sustainable development.
“This platform will improve collaboration between officials who manage natural resources, conduct research, plan development programs, and adapt policies,” said USAID Acting Mission Director Randy Chester. “The portal will also buoy coordination of land use and planning, fisheries and protected area management, and encourage the digital development of these sectors.”
In cooperation with the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, USAID funded the creation of the portal through the Hay Tao conservation project. The portal links geo-referenced databases to allow users to access resources on terrestrial ecosystems such as forests and protected areas, coastal ecosystems and locally managed marine areas, and resources on land tenure and development. Through the site, users will be able to conduct spatial analyses with interactive maps. They will also have access to legal, technical, and policy documents from the agriculture, tourism, and mining sectors.
The United States stands side-by-side with Madagascar like “mpirahalahy mianala” to help safeguard the country’s unique biodiversity. Since 2013, USAID has committed more than $60 million to promote sustainability, improve livelihoods for communities, bolster governance of natural resources, stop wildlife trafficking, and protect forests from illegal exploitation.