Photo: Estudios Revolución

With the presence of Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers, a meeting was held July 24 to follow-up on the implementation of actions projected in the state plan to confront climate change, known as Tarea Vida (Life Task), being carried out by a variety of agencies, entities, and provinces around the country.

Given the visible effects, a number of questions are being asked: Where, how, and to what extent will fish processing facilities be relocated? What impact does the redesign of the food industry have on the establishment and dimensions of such facilities? Answers to these and other queries are being sought via a strategy designed by the Food Processing Ministry to deal with the inevitable impact of climate change.

This sector’s activity is key to feeding the country and is one of the most affected by the climate, since species are at risk when the basic elements of their ecosystems vary.

In this context, fundamental objectives proposed include extending diagnostic studies, actions and projects to adapt to climate change in a comprehensive, gradual manner; ensuring the rational use of water in fish farming and the food industry with the introduction of new technology and identification of new supply sources; reducing contamination by decreasing the amount of waste produced and improving treatment systems; expanding the use of renewable energy sources; and contributing to the protection of the most vulnerable marine ecosystems.

Minister of Science, Technology, and Environment Elba Rosa Pérez Montoya acknowledged that the food processing industry is carrying out coherent work in this area, and insisted on the need to increasingly intensify work on issues related to food security, links with agriculture, and the impact of other non-state actors. She likewise recommended continuing scientific research on the most at-risk areas.

Later in the meeting, discussed were the priority mitigation and prevention activities in the province of Pinar del Río, which are concentrated in seven municipalities, in particular Guane, given projections of coastal flooding and other effects.

Explained was the definitive relocation of dwellings which remain on Las Canas Beach, in the municipality of Pinar del Río; in the Punta de Cartas community, San Juan y Martínez municipality; as well as the neighborhoods of La Bajada and Dayaniguas, in the municipalities of Sandino and Los Palacios, respectively.

Among efforts are those to rehabilitate protective coastal ecosystems, with work underway to replant 10 hectares of mangroves in 2018, and provide maintenance to 15 kilometers of canals facilitating water flow through mangroves, as well as river deltas on the southern coast of Los Palacios. Work is also projected on the comprehensive recovery of beaches facing severe erosion, and new technological measures to protect rice farms.

Attention was also focused on the development of anomalies in the Guanahacabibes Peninsula associated with climate change, such as the proliferation of invasive species, changes around turtle nesting sites, as well as new migration patterns of pelicans and red crabs.

President Díaz-Canel was interested in knowing how the province was monitoring implementation of the climate change state plan. It was explained that, via a resolution issued by the President of the Provincial Administrative Council, a commission was created that meets monthly to review progress on planned actions, and ensure that confronting climate change is addressed in strategies directed toward development in the province.

Discussed next was progress in the program to detain deterioration of the nation’s documental patrimony, including a report on work being undertaken to preserve the nation’s historical memory by the Cuban Film Institute (ICAIC), the first cultural institution established by the Revolution.

It was explained that better conditions have been created in the stacks, in areas housing photographs and film, the public reception room, and restoration workshops.

A high resolution scanner for film has been installed, and work is underway on a scanning and restoration workshop for photographs, texts, and posters, located in the Cinema Museum.

In the Institute’s archives are many treasures: Cuban and international films; audio soundtracks, special effects, historical items, and musical recordings; photographs of filming, personalities, events, production images, stills, negatives, and contact strips; movie posters; scripts, dialogues, and translations.

Likewise stored here are a large number of pieces destined to be displayed in the cinematographic museum; collections of texts and film publications; as well as patrimonial items like artwork, prizes, handicrafts, antique furniture, classic cars, and wardrobes.

In the case of Cuban film, over the course of 60 years and despite very difficult conditions, a conservation and restoration program has been maintained - more recently adding a digitalization effort, in which international collaboration is playing a part.

During the meeting, Minister Pérez Montoya commented that, despite the complexity of the process, this institution has maintained sustained progress in its work.

Addressed next in the discussion of historical memory was the case of the Ministry of Industry, which has organized its work in two stages. During the first, all digital information related to historical memory is being organized, using the program Excriba, developed by the University of Computer Sciences. Videos and photographs are located and stored and documents are being digitalized.

During the second stage, conservation efforts will begin with hard copy document archives related to the founding of the Ministry and its work.

The challenge is to organize a system little by little throughout the country, the Minister added, concluding, that while much remains to be done, the country is not idly standing by.

As the meeting came to a close, President Díaz-Canel recalled Army General Raúl Castro’s insistence on the importance of recovering and preserving valuable materials that represent the country’s historical memory.