Going from strength to strength is a three-year (2008-2010) research and capacity building project, coordinated by the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) with funding from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (MacArthur). It focuses particularly on the islands of Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti) and Jamaica, with dissemination of lessons learnt to a wide range of stakeholders in the other islands of the Caribbean. Its main objectives are:

  1. to identify the key enabling factors for effective civil society participation in institutions for biodiversity conservation in Caribbean islands through the analysis of a range of participatory biodiversity conservation governance arrangements, including a review of
    • the roles played by civil society organisations (CSOs) in biodiversity conservation;
    • which biodiversity conservation governance arrangements work and why;
    • the key factors in existing institutional arrangements that facilitate or hinder effective civil society participation in governance;
    • the interactions between the different elements (e.g. people, policies, legislation) in these complex governance systems;
    • the capacity that CSOs need in order to contribute to effective biodiversity conservation in the islands of the Caribbean;
    • the most effective strategies, tools and methods for civil society capacity building.
  2. to learn from and enhance the capacity of 10 Caribbean CSOs to effectively promote and participate in biodiversity conservation through:
    • implementation of an innovative Action Research and Learning Group programme of cross-learning, information sharing, training, networking and case studies designed to draw and build on the existing capacity within the group;
    • identification of priority capacity needs that require external facilitation and development of a programme of capacity building activities to address these;
    • development of fundraising strategies for both CANARI and the CSO participants to complement and augment activities under this project;
    • development of a framework for participatory monitoring and evaluation of initiatives designed to build the capacity of CSOs to participate in biodiversity conservation governance.
  3. to influence the policies and practice in government agencies, civil society organisations private sector companies and donor agencies to enhance civil society participation in institutions engaged in biodiversity conservation through:
    • dissemination of lessons learned and innovative tools and methods from the project in a range of formats such as case studies, policy briefs, newsletters and guidelines via print and audiovisual media;
    • building the capacity of 10 CSOs to act as catalysts, change agents and facilitators for wider dissemination of lessons, tools and methods to the government agencies, donor agencies, private sector and other CSOs within their networks and institutions;
    • design and facilitation of regional, national and local training programmes and seminars on the tools and methods identified through the project, by CANARI, other participating CSOs and specialist consultants;
    • delivery of presentations at regional and international events by participating CSOs in the ARLG.

The project is described in detail in the concept note. The main components of the project are: