Forests provide Caribbean islands with critical ecological goods and services. Many rural communities are highly dependent on forest resources for their livelihoods including ecotourism services, production of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) and artisanal production of timber. It is recognised that the region’s forest resources are being impacted by climate change, however it is also understood that forest resources management is an essential component of climate adaptation and climate resilience strategies. There is, therefore, growing national, regional and international commitment to building the climate resilience of small island natural resources and livelihoods through, among other aspects, forest management initiatives.
The governments of the Caribbean are increasingly committed to the participatory management of forest based resources alongside community forest-based livelihoods as evidenced in national laws, policies and programmes. Most Caribbean countries emphasise in their national development plans the need to support youth and women in rural areas to become self-employed entrepreneurs, including support to forest-based livelihoods. A number of Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) Caribbean Country Programming Frameworks (CPF) specifically prioritise forest resources management, as part of an overall climate resilience and rural livelihood thrust. Gender issues and youth engagement are also emphasised within these frameworks. The Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) has been working for many years with community forest-resource-based enterprises to help them deliver ‘triple-bottom line’ economic, social and environmental benefits from their enterprises. Much of this work has been in conjunction with the FAO.
Given the above, CANARI and the FAO have entered into a Strategic Alliance to build the climate resilience of forest resources and associated rural livelihoods in the Caribbean sub-region to further the FAO’s strategic objectives (SO) as follows:
To build the climate resilience of the Caribbean sub-region’s forest resources and associated rural livelihoods through the development of a FAO sub-regional strategy, with identified priorities for scaling up of initiatives and proposals to mobilise resources, and enhance readiness of sub-regional and national stakeholders.
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