Suriname - 25 March, 2019
On Friday, March 22, 2019, Tropenbos Suriname launched its twinning project "Towards a Green and Livable Paramaribo" in the auditorium of the IGSR Staatsolie building. Trees and other urban green spaces can make an important contribution to a more liveable Paramaribo. Urban green spaces contribute, among other things, to a better microclimate, provision of fruits and herbs, recreation, a healthier environment, mitigation of flooding, and improving mental health. Nowadays there is insufficient appreciation for urban green spaces in our city. Concrete takes the upper hand and the environmental, social and economic benefits that urban green spaces can offer remain unused.
The two-year project was established in collaboration with the Dutch twinning partner, the Faculty of Geo Information Sciences and Earth Observation at the University of Twente (ITC), and is funded by the UTSN twinning facility. ITC has extensive experience in the field of research and education on urban green spaces, ecosystem services and in particular with regard to the "Urban Heat Island" effect. Tropenbos Suriname has years of experience about sustainable forest use and ecosystem services and therefore also has a local network that it can use in this area. Generally, studies on urban green spaces are done in more temperate or sub-tropical regions, but this project will contribute to scientific research in a tropical climate.
The aim of the project is to promote a greener Paramaribo in which ecosystem services contribute to a healthier and more liveable environment for its inhabitants.
The project aims to achieve 4 results, namely:
1. Available, science-based information about the benefits of urban green spaces in Paramaribo, giving policymakers a hand to improve urban greenery.
2. Greater awareness among policymakers, planners and civil society about the role that urban green space can play in Paramaribo and other urban areas
3. Active involvement of citizens and educational institutions in the monitoring of urban green areas in Paramaribo, whereby consultation is also held with policy makers to arrive at a monitoring protocol.
4. Making educational material accessible for universities and educational institutions in Suriname and the Netherlands, with Suriname as a case study.
During the seminar, various stakeholders from government, civil society and academic organisations were present, each dealing with one or more aspects of urban green spaces. The introduction of both twinning partners was followed by a presentation on what urban green space is and an interactive session on urban green spaces in Paramaribo on the map. Rayan Madhar, member of the United Tour Guides of Suriname, also addressed the audience about urban green spaces from a different perspective. Finally, the project, the activities and the accompanying planning were presented and the seminar was concluded with a short discussion.
It is clear that urban green space is an issue that for many is literally and figuratively close to home and that a broad involvement of both authorities and citizens is important. Although the project focuses on Paramaribo, it can provide insights for applications in other districts. Suriname will honor its status as the greenest country in the world if our capital Paramaribo also has a green appearance. The UTSN Twinning project will contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 11: a safe, inclusive, resilient and sustainable city. The motto is therefore: Paramaribo green, let’s do it together!