The Environmental Awareness Group (EAG) is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation working in the environment field in Antigua and Barbuda since 1989. The EAG partnered up with BIOPAMA Caribbean for the organization of a protected areas data management training for Antigua and Barbuda in October 2015 and this collaboration is continuing with the development of a case study on the protected area data situation in the country.
The Caribbean Protected Areas Gateway (Caribbean Gateway), hosted by CERMES on behalf of the University of the West Indies was institutionalised under the Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management Programme (BIOPAMA). The goal of this initiative is to build a strong environment for accessing biodiversity, conservation and protected areas data in the Caribbean region. This is achieved through the creation of an online data portal (http://caribbean-rris.biopama.org) that aims to collate reliable data that will contribute to the sustainable management of the region’s natural resources and also to demonstrate how data can be linked to decision making.
In this framework, the Caribbean Gateway and the Environmental Awareness Group (EAG) in Antigua and Barbuda are developing a case study that will address the lack of credible data needed for effective protected areas management. This partnership was established with the aim of informing and empowering the society on the sustainable use and management of the country’s natural resources. Building the case study has been a highly collaborative effort between Sophia Punnett and Natalya Lawrence on behalf of EAG, assisted by visiting intern Lesley Mitchell from Memorial University of Newfoundland, and guided by Jason Williams, IUCN consultant technical officer with the Caribbean Gateway.
The work that is being done involves digitising over 20 years of biodiversity data collected through volunteer efforts within the Northeast Marine Managed Area. The datasets consist of survey data of lizards, sea and land birds, the critically endangered Antigua Racer snake and nesting turtles. This project is directly linked to the objectives of the Caribbean Gateway, i.e. to enable informed decision making and encourage active interest in sustainable protected areas management through data. The results of the case study will be shared in the coming months.