Description of project

Since 2011, sargassum influxes in the Caribbean region have increasingly posed a threat, becoming an almost yearly event for the Eastern Caribbean islands. Sargassum mats inundate coastlines, cover beaches and block fish landing sites, impeding activities in tourism, fisheries and everyday life for coastal communities. Although there is increasing awareness of the issue and progress in research on sargassum origination, tracking, forecasting, usage and management, there is still a lot of unknowns surrounding the management of the phenomenon. It is clear that the region has to develop national and regional interventions and capacity for reducing sargassum’s impacts and improving adaptation.

The Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) has been contracted by the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (UWI-CERMES) to provide technical assistance for the “Adapting to a new reality: Managing responses to influxes of sargassum seaweed in the Eastern Caribbean as ecosystem hazards and opportunities (SargAdapt)” Project.

Sargadapt’s main goal is to “reduce the impacts of and improve adaptation to sargassum influxes in the Eastern Caribbean with emphasis on converting a climate linked ecosystem hazard into an asset that supports opportunities for socio-economic development”. The sub-regional project is taking place in Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines over three years (December 2019 – December 2022). The project is led by the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (UWI-CERMES)  with funding from the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund Ecosystem-based Adaptation Facility through financing assistance from German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety International Climate Initiative (IKI) through the KfW.

CANARI is working on the development of communications strategies and stakeholder capacity building and engagement mechanisms for the SargAdapt project with work commencing in November 2020 and ending in July 2021. The activities and outputs of CANARI’s component will support and complement work led by CERMES and other project partners. See full project brief here and CANARI brief here.

Project goal

To build capacity and improve adaptation to sargassum influxes through the development of communication and engagement strategies for sargassum management and the establishment of collaborative mechanisms for sharing of knowledge, innovation and best practices.

Key activities

  • Conduct desk reviews and scoping of the five project countries to identify key stakeholders in 10 target communities and the impacts of Sargassum influxes on important sectors
  • Design and conduct a KAP survey in each of the target communities to gather and compile data on stakeholder capacities and resources needed for sustainable management and adaptation to sargassum influxes
  • Develop a Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Strategies using the information gathered from the KAP surveys relevant to stakeholder needs and the local context
  • Establish a Sargassum Action Network of community leaders identified in the stakeholder analysis and through the consultation process
  • Establish and coordinate a Sargassum Action Learning Group of change agents for knowledge exchange, problems solving and increasing capacity in management and adaptation to sargassum influxes in the OECS region. Download the inaugural meeting report here

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For more information, please contact Dr. Ainka Granderson, Senior Technical Officer at [email protected].