FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Port of Spain, April 16, 2019 – The development of the report on the State of Marine Habitats in the Wider Caribbean (SoMH) and the Regional Strategy and Action Plan for the Valuation, Protection and/or Restoration of Key Marine Habitats in the Wider Caribbean 2021-2030 (RSAP) will result in new tools for the sustainable management of coastal resources regionally.

The Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) is facilitating the preparation of the SoMH and RSAP on behalf of the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) – Caribbean Environment Programme (CEP) Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW) Sub-programme and the Caribbean and North Brazil Shelf Large Marine Ecosystems (CLME+) Project (2015-2020).  The SoMH and RSAP are being developed with input from regional programmes and agencies, government agencies, civil society organisations and other relevant experts through regional workshops and virtual consultations.

The SoMH provides baseline information on the status of coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass beds as well as a snapshot of key initiatives and responses to habitat degradation and mismanagement. It uses the DPSIR (Driver, Pressure, State, Impact, Response) analytical framework to examine the marine habitats of the Wider Caribbean.

The RSAP is a 10-year mechanism for coordinated regional management of coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass beds. The strategy and action plan will allow collaborative and complementary action by governments, regional/international agencies, civil society, private sector and academic institutions in coastal/marine natural resource management within a regional framework. The RSAP will help to manage transboundary marine resources and address gaps in the implementation of National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs). It underscores the importance of partnerships between government, civil society, private sector and academic institutions in implementation of activities ‘on the ground’.

The project began in September 2018 and has since engaged stakeholders in facilitating several rounds of strategising, review and feedback, including two regional workshops held in Panama. The first workshop was held on 3 and 4 December 2018 and involved 39 participants from 23 countries within the CLME + SPAW Region (Caribbean Sea Large Marine Ecosystem, North Brazil Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem and the Gulf of Mexico Large Marine Ecosystem) and was a precursor to the eighth meeting of the SPAW Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC). The second workshop, also held in Panama, on 13 and 14 March 2019 was attended by 24 participants from 16 countries in the project region. Participants at both workshops represented government departments, regional and international agencies as well as national civil society organisations.

The SoMH and RSAP will help bring about practical and innovative actions for marine resource conservation and management through shared experiences and best practices, while supporting CLME+ SPAW countries to meet international and regional MEA (multilateral environmental agreements) targets and objectives. CANARI is helping to do this in a participatory way that brings civil society and other stakeholders into the process. Both the SoMH and RSAP are still being circulated for comments and will be the subject of virtual consultations in the coming months.

A document summarising the broad framework for the development, implementation and institutionalisation of the SoMH and RSAP will be presented to the Tenth Meeting of the Contracting Parties (COP) to the Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (COP 10) in June 2019. The draft SoMH and RSAP will be presented to the Ninth Meeting of the SPAW Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC 9) in the third quarter of 2019 for further endorsement at the Eleventh Meeting of the Contracting Parties (COP) to the Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (COP 11) in December 2020.

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About CANARI

The Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) is a regional technical non-profit organisation which has been working in the islands of the Caribbean for 30 years. Our mission is to promote equitable participation and effective collaboration in managing natural resources critical to development. Our programmes focus on capacity building, policy planning and development, research, sharing and dissemination of lessons learned, and fostering regional partnerships. See here for more information on CANARI: https://www.canari.org/.

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For further information, please contact: Neema Ramlogan, Technical Officer, CANARI at [email protected] or +1-868-626-6062.