The need to improve governance and regular maintenance of Caribbean protected areas led to the creation of the Caribbean Protected Areas Gateway, a free and open-access platform launched in 2016 so that researchers, academicians, government conservation agencies and nongovernmental organisations can share and access maps, data and information on natural resources, biodiversity and protected areas management.
Promoted by the BIOPAMA Programme, the portal is lodged at the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES), an IUCN Member organisation in Barbados. So far, data are compiled from global sources such as the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA), IUCN Red List and Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), but the aim is to continue expanding with new data sources. Some of the most important progress by the end of 2016:
- Data on biological diversity (land birds and island lizards) for the North East Marine Management Area in Antigua and Barbuda,
- Socioeconomic assessments and management plans for some sites in the region, and
- Capacity to collect regional data from The Nature Conservancy’s regional information system, CaribNode. Coral reef report files of the six Organisation of East Caribbean States (OECS) nations are an example.
The Caribbean IUCN member organizations participating in the Gateway's creation and implementation include: CERMES UWI (Barbados), the Belize Audubon Society, the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI - Trinidad and Tobago), Centro para la Conservacion y Ecodesarrollo de la Bahia de Samana y su entorno (CEBSE - Dominican Republic) and the Ministry of Environment of the Dominican Republic. Members of the IUCN Regional Committee for the Caribbean and the IUCN National Committee of the Dominican Republic have participated in consultations and trainings led by BIOPAMA.