Description of project

The members of the United Nations are negotiating an international legally binding instrument under United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ Agreement).  CARICOM’s Co-Chairs for the negotiations, Barbados and Belize, recognised that enhanced regional stakeholder engagement would be necessary to support CARICOM’s negotiations.  CANARI was asked to provide technical assistance to support stakeholder engagement, given its mandate and competencies in facilitating participatory natural resources governance and management in the Caribbean.  CANARI’s work was supported through a grant from the Oak Foundation.  The aim was to ensure that CARICOM negotiators were well informed of the interests, rights and views of stakeholders throughout the region to be able to more effectively negotiate on the sustainable use of marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.


  • 226 stakeholders were engaged from across CARICOM Member States through national workshops in Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago as well as key informant interviews and an online survey.
  • CARICOM stakeholder perspectives were synthesised and 10 priorities for the negotiation were identified.
  • A GIS story map was developed ‘The Ocean and Us: What a new global treaty means to the people of the Caribbean’


Key results

  • Stakeholder Participation and Communication Strategy developed: This provided a framework so that CARICOM’s key stakeholders are identified, engaged and provide input for the formulation of CARICOM’s positions on the BBNJ agreement. The objectives of the Strategy were to ensure that key stakeholders: (1) are aware about the BBNJ process and issues and how these are relevant to their rights, responsibilities and interests; (2) give feedback on their perspectives and priorities to support CARICOM negotiators; and (3) build ownership of the BBNJ process and readiness for implementation of the agreement produced.  The Strategy sets out which are the key stakeholders who should be engaged to input perspectives into the CARICOM negotiations and strategies for their engagement.  This lays the foundation for an allied communication plan that sets out approaches and actions to engage these stakeholders in understanding the BBNJ issues.  Specific communication messages, products, dissemination channels and engagement strategies were identified for each target stakeholder.
  • Stakeholder engagement: A total of 226 stakeholders were engaged from across CARICOM Member States through multiple platforms: national workshops in Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago; key informant interviews and an online survey. These stakeholders belonged to government agencies, civil society organisations, private sector, academia, regional / international agencies or were private individuals or resource users.  Despite limited familiarity or engagement with the BBNJ Agreement negotiation process by key stakeholders, there was strong interest in understanding the issues and how the Agreement would impact on stakeholder responsibilities, rights and interests. 
  • Synthesis of stakeholder perspectives: Key findings from stakeholder input were presented in a Synthesis Report. This included general comments on the importance of a unified and strong CARICOM voice in the negotiations, defining the scope of the Agreement, need for an integrated approach, and financing for effective implementation.  Equitable access and benefits was seen as critical.  Specific input was made on the four packages under the Agreement: Environmental Impact Assessments, Marine Genetic Resources, Area Based Management Tools and Capacity Building for Technology Transfer. 
  • Development of communication products: 13 communication products were developed (see below) to reach different target audiences, including a story map as a framework to present these. Products were disseminated through direct mailings and a social media campaign.  They were also featured on CANARI’s Caribbean Civil Society SDGs Knowledge Platform under SDG 14 Life Below Water.




Recent news and blogs

  • Press release – CARICOM stakeholders support a strong global treaty to


Related publications

People Managing Oceans booklet EnglishSpanish and summary factsheet EnglishSpanish


For more information, contact Nicole Leotaud, Executive Director at [email protected]

See related work under CANARI’s Coastal and Marine Livelihoods and Governance programme.