GFDD Global Foundation for Democracy and Development


Executive Director Welcome
Natasha Despotovic Executive Director WelcomeThe last two months have been monumental, not just for GFDD and our partners, but for the international community at large. From June 20-22, United Nations Agencies, Member States, experts and civil society representatives met in Rio de Janiero for the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development – Rio + 20 -- twenty years after the adoption of Agenda 21 -- to strategize a new framework for global social and economic development and environmental sustainability.

We support and promote efforts to achieve these global goals, and are doing our part to advance social and economic development and environmental sustainability in the Dominican Republic, and to share our successes with our international counterparts to contribute to environmental conservation, green growth and human development worldwide.
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GFDD Launches Google Earth Tour of the Coastal and Marine Ecosystems of the Dominican Republic

The Dominican Women's Development Center

DREFF Raises Awareness of the Environmental and Human Health Risks Associated with Solid Waste


Since 2010, GFDD has been working with the Sylvia Earle Alliance to create content for the "Explore the Ocean" layer of Google Earth, launched by Google in 2009. "Explore the Ocean," curated by the Sylvia Earle Alliance, collects local stories and locally-based knowledge from people around the globe concerned about the health of the world's oceans. Stories relate to six key areas: ecosystems, marine life, ocean and atmosphere, science and exploration, marine protected areas and human connections.

GFDD has been contributing specifically to the new Spanish language component of the project, which is scheduled to be released by the end of this year. To date, GFDD has created 50 posts, and by the end of 2012 will have produced a total of 75.

GFDD has produced and created the first-ever Spanish tour for Ocean in Google. The tour seeks to educate global citizens on the high levels of biodiversity and endemism found in the Dominican Republic, and draw attention to the need for improved management of vulnerable and endangered species. The project also highlights best practices, programs and organizations that are making a difference in the country.

The 10 minute, 15 second short film on the country's biodiversity hotspots is the result of the relentless work of GFDD's multidisciplinary team of environmental experts, researchers and audiovisual specialists. Educational materials created for Google also incorporate content from GFDD's Dominican Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Environment, which masterfully unites information on the environment and natural resources of the Dominican Republic, and includes an incredible 712 defined environmental terms, 58 table sets, 123 graphics, 19 scientific articles and over 900 photos.

The guided tour takes visitors on an informative and exciting trip, from the south western tip of the island all the way to the north western tip, stopping at 11 ecological points of interest: the Jaragua-Bahoruco-Enriquillo Biosphere Reserve,

Lake Enriquillo, the Baní Dunes of Las Calderas Penninsula, the Cueva de los Tres Ojos wildlife refuge, La Caleta Submarine Park, Parque Nacional del Este, Los Haitises National Park, the Silver Bank Marine Mammal Sanctuary in Samaná Bay, the underground systems of the Dudú River, coastal clean-up initiatives in Puerto Plata, and the Monte Cristi National Submarine Park.

GFDD invites you to "take the tour" and experience the Dominican Republic's unique and diverse natural heritage. Learn more about the coastal ecosystem of Bahía de las Aguilas, and how the beaches there are providing critical nesting grounds for four species of marine turtles. Take a visit to the country's largest salt water lake, Lake Enriquillo, habitat for two endemic species of rock iguana, the rhinoceros iguana and Ricord's iguana, and the American crocodile. Dive the rare underground streams of Cueva de los Tres Ojos wildlife refuge. Experience why Parque Nacional del Este – home to coral reefs, mangrove forests, endangered manatees, bottlenose dolphins and over 100 bird species – is one of the country's most prized treasures. And learn why the calving and mating grounds of the Silver Bank Marine Mammal Sanctuary – an area that united the largest concentrations of North Atlantic humpback whales in the world during the January-March breeding season – merits the attention and concern of the international community.

Through this exciting and innovative project in partnership with the Sylvia Earle Alliance, GFDD hopes that content on the marine and coastal ecosystems of the Dominican Republic will serve as a model and will encourage other countries to use this interactive tool to increase dissemination of knowledge and promotion of learning about our oceans and coastal and marine resources.

The "Google Earth Tour of the Coastal and Marine Ecosystems of the Dominican Republic" was first released in English during the side event "Oceans in Google Earth as an Educational Tool: A Dominican Republic Perspective," convened on June 17, 2012, during the framework of the Sustainable Development Dialogues leading up to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20) in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, where it was very well received.

GFDD would like to acknowledge its partners in the Dominican Republic and abroad that have contributed Google footage for the Google tour: the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources of the Dominican Republic, Adolfo López and Roberto Llerena, Fundación Vida Azul, Reef Check Dominicana, Phillip Lehman and the Oceania Project. Experts have been used from the following films:

Volvamos al verde- Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales de la República Dominicana

Parque Nacional del Este: Refugio de la Naturaleza, Cuna de la Cultura- Adolfo López and Roberto Llerena

GFDD's commitment to environmental stewardship

Environmental stewardship has been at the forefront of GFDD's mission since its conception. Through the organization of conferences, workshops, film screenings and the creation of online and print publications and audiovisual material, GFDD works to promote environmental protection, conservation and sustainability.

The Foundation's environmental initiatives heighten awareness of pressing issues and promote respect for biodiversity, natural resources and ecosystem services. These projects aspire to encourage citizens of the Dominican Republic and citizens of the world to adopt practices that will positively contribute to the sustainability and health of the natural environment.

Years of experience in the area have resulted in the development of an extensive network of prominent international environmentalists and national and local practitioners and educators, whose expertise contributes to the elevation of the content and scope of GFDD's diverse program of work.

Second Edition of the Dominican Republic Environmental Film Festival
Dominican Republic, September 5-9, 2012
GFDD Will Bring Acclaimed Photo Exhibit to Seoul, South Korea The second edition of the Dominican Republic Environmental Film Festival (DREFF) will be celebrated in the Dominican Republic from September 5-9, 2012.

The Festival raises awareness and deepens understanding of environmental issues among Dominican audiences, while celebrating the beauty and diversity of the country's natural heritage. Through screening a diverse selection of high-quality films on matters of environmental concern, and organizing panel discussions with environmental experts, filmmakers and other stakeholders, the Festival seeks to foster dialogue and to inspire Dominican audiences to adopt practices that will ensure for the health and environmental sustainability of the country.
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