The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) has awarded US$1.1million in grants to four civil society organisations working in Jamaica and the Dominican Republic (Click here to view interactive map showing projects locations). The grants to the Caribbean Coastal Area Management Foundation (C-CAM) in Jamaica and the Fundación José Delio Guzmán (FJDG), Sociedad Ornitológica de la Hispaniola (SOH Conservación) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) in the Dominican Republic are the first four awards to be made by the CEPF under its current five-year investment in the Caribbean Islands Biodiversity Hotspot, which began in August 2021.

All four grants will support practical action projects that will strengthen the protection and management of globally important biodiversity in Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. The grant to C-CAM in Jamaica will support the preparation of a five-year management and zoning plan for the Portland Bight Protected Area (PBPA) along with the implementation of the national conservation plan for the critically endangered Jamaican Hutia (Geocapromys brownii) and the elaboration of conservation action plans for other endangered endemic plant and animal species. C-CAM will also develop a monitoring programme for the PBPA that engages communities in a citizen science programme.

 

View from Portland Ridge to West Harbour, Jamaica. © Dr. Ann Sutton

In the Dominican Republic, the FJDG will work on an ecological restoration programme for the Juan Bautista Pérez Rancier National Park, more commonly known as the Valle Nuevo National Park, in coordination with the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources. It will also prepare conservation action plans for four highly threatened endemic species, including the Hispaniolan solenodon (Solenodon paradoxus) and the Green Swallow (Tachycineta euchrysea). Given the importance of community support for the management of the park, the project includes an ecotourism component to ensure communities will benefit from the park’s conservation.

SOH Conservación will strengthen the management of the Sierra de Bahoruco and Bahoruco Oriental protected areas and their buffer zones to mitigate threats. It will also build management capacity, develop bird-friendly coffee demonstration plots and promote ecotourism, as well as prepare and implement species conservation action plans and establish a stakeholder management committee and community extension.

IUCN is partnering with the local Grupo Jaragua to assess two plant families, junipers (Cupressaceae) and palms (Palmae), and a conifer species (Podocarpus buchii) on the Dominican Republic side of the Massif de la Selle – Sierra de Bahoruco – Hoya de Enriquillo Basin Binational Corridor. IUCN will also build the capacity of local botanists by supporting field surveys, conducting planning and training for Red List assessments.

 

Valle Nuevo National Park. © FJDG

C-CAM, FJDG and SOH are all second time CEPF grantees, having been supported during the first investment in the Caribbean between 2010 and 2016. “We are very excited to partner once more with C-CAM, FJDG and SOH Conservación,” said the manager of the CEPF Caribbean Regional Implementation Team (RIT) at the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI), Nicole Brown.

“The work that they propose to do will build on their first CEPF-supported projects and go a long way to both strengthen the management of the Key Biodiversity Areas where they work and integrate local communities into conservation. We also look forward to forging a strong collaboration with new grantee, IUCN, which has been actively supporting conservation efforts in the Caribbean region for several decades,” she added.

Under its current investment in the Caribbean, which will go until July 2026, CEPF is awarding grants to strengthen Caribbean CSOs and support their efforts to reduce threats to 32 Key Biodiversity Areas in seven countries: Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

CANARI is supporting the work of CEPF in the Caribbean in its role as the RIT. The RIT works directly with grantees on the ground and helps build local capacity and implement the CEPF strategy. CANARI played this role during the first CEPF investment and is building on that experience to provide a robust programme of capacity building, which both aligns with the CEPF’s objectives for the current investment and CANARI’s 2021 – 2030 strategic plan, Innovating for equity, resilience and sustainability. The change CANARI wants to bring about in this period includes more participatory institutions for natural resource management; more engaged and empowered social actors (individuals, communities, organisations); robust ecosystem goods, services and biodiversity; and inclusive, just development models. The work that CANARI will support during the CEPF investment and the partnerships it will forge, will help make this desired future a reality.

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