Description of the project:

What innovative actions can be taken by civil society and micro and small enterprises (MSEs) to conserve marine and coastal biodiversity while developing sustainable and resilient livelihoods?  Between 2017 and 2020, the implementing team of the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI), in partnership with the Caribbean Coastal Area Management Foundation (C-CAM), the Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organisations (CNFO), the Environmental Awareness Group (EAG), the Fondation pour la Protection de la Biodiversite Marine (FoProBiM), Sustainable Grenadines Inc (SusGren), and the Saint Lucia National Trust (SLNT) will implement a project to address this.

The project, Powering Innovations in Civil Society and Enterprises for Sustainability in the Caribbean (PISCES) aims to support innovative actions by civil society and coastal community small and micro-enterprises for conservation of marine and coastal biodiversity and development of sustainable and resilient livelihoods. This will be achieved through awareness raising, capacity building, fostering collaboration, supporting implementation of practical actions and advocacy to influence policy.  The project is taking place in Antigua and Barbuda; The Bahamas; Dominica; Grenada; Haiti; Jamaica; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; and Trinidad and Tobago.  It will benefit fisherfolk organisations (FFOs), community based organisations (CBOs), national non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and SMEs and focus on marine protected areas/ marine managed areas (MPAs/MMAs).

The PISCES project is being funded by the European Union EuropeAid programme, and is being managed through the office of the Delegation of the European Union to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean States, the OECS and CARICOM/CARIFORUM. The total budget of the project is EUR1,933,815 (EUR933,815 is co-funding pledged by the project partners). See here for more information.

Priority countries and targeted MPAs/MMAs

Key activities

The project will be implemented via five inter-linked components:

1) Capacity building of civil society: A group of at least 20 mentors from the project countries were trained to strengthen organisational capacity of FFOs, CBOs and NGOs. See the reports from the First Mentors Training Workshop here and from the second workshop here. Existing programmes, projects and initiatives that build capacity of FFOs, CBOs and NGOs for marine and coastal governance and management were mapped and possible synergies and gaps determined. Based on a needs assessment and development of a targeted capacity building strategy and toolkit, 20 organisations across the 10 project countries are having their capacity built using a combination of training, mentoring, coaching and peer learning. See list of Mentors and Mentee FFOs, CBOs and NGOs here. The PISCES project provided co-financing support for a one-day Mentor Training Workshop for organisational strengthening Mentors supporting the Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CCSO) in Saint Lucia. See the report of this training workshop here.

2) Documenting cases of innovation: Case studies have been documented on the conserving marine and coastal resources and developing sustainable and resilient livelihoods in the Caribbean. These case studies were disseminated widely including via the Caribbean Civil Society SDGs Knowledge Platform and other regional databases and peer exchanges.  These will particularly seek to engage Haitian organisations in regional networks. The case studies are:

3) Regional Innovation Programme for biodiversity conservation and resilience: The Caribbean Sea Innovation Fund (CarSIF) a small grants facility established by CANARI in 2019 to support innovation and best practices by CSOs and community enterprises to address priorities needs and actions in the Caribbean on marine and coastal governance and management. (see CarSIF Strategy). The Advisory Group for the CarSIF has been established (see Terms of Reference and list of members) and are supporting design of the programme, selection of projects, evaluation and sharing of results, lessons and recommendations to support policy and practice for improved marine and coastal governance and management in MPAs/MMAs. The CarSIF CSO small grants was launched in May 2019 via a closed call by invitation only to targeted FFOs, CBOs and NGOs currently engaged under the PISCES project. Nine CSOs from seven PISCES countries have been awarded small grants ranging from USD 1,000 to USD 11,000 to deliver practical action projects ranging from biodiversity conservation, building climate resilience, support sustainable livelihoods and promoting environmental awareness and education. (See list of CarSIF grantees and press release). These projects are currently being implemented and are expected to be completed by December 2020.

4) Developing and strengthening SMEs: Socio-economic studies will be conducted to assess the baseline and results. SME mentors were identified and trained in a methodology to develop and strengthen SMEs from targeted communities around MPAs/MMAs (see reports of first and second training workshops). See list of SME mentors and their mentee SMEs. Entrepreneurs are learning ways to develop enterprises that sustainably use marine and coastal resources to deliver economic, environmental and social co-benefits as well as how to ‘climate proof’ their enterprises.  SME mentors will provide coaching and mentoring to SMEs. The SME Microgrants Scheme under the CarSIF was launched in November 2019 via a closed call by invitation only to SMEs currently engaged under PISCES project. Nine SMEs from eight countries have been awarded microgrants of up to USD 1,700 to undertake capacity strengthening and small business development activities. (See list of SME microgrant awardees) Measures to establish and strengthen private-public partnerships to support SMEs will also be explored.

5)  A regional survey on the needs and opportunities for environmental advocacy by Caribbean civil society was undertaken in 2019 which highlighted the need for capacity building, knowledge exchange and partnerships. (See report here.) A regional advocacy strategy (see attached) was then developed to guide the regional advocacy campaign on the signing and ratification of the Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean (Escazú Agreement) in collaboration with other leading CSOs in the Caribbean to strengthen civil society voice in local, national and/ or regional decision-making processes for governance and management of marine and coastal resources. CANARI is collaborating with 4 CSOs to lead on national advocacy campaigns using ICTs and social networks on the Escazú Agreement in 5 target Caribbean countries between July to September 2020. Capacity support for these national advocacy campaigns is also provided through virtual short course “Effective Advocacy for Caribbean Civil Society Organisation” from June 2020 to July 2020 (See course outline). This virtual course is being supported by the publication ‘An advocacy toolkit for Caribbean civil society organisations’ which will be published shortly. FFOs, CBOs and NGOs will be also supported to  document local knowledge to strengthen systems that facilitate use of local and scientific information for better decision-making to be used by civil society in advocacy.



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