Twenty-eight professionals from nine Caribbean countries involved in the management of protected areas engaged in 6 days of intensive learning and sharing of experiences. Held in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic from 11-16 January, 2016, this course covered the design and management of protected areas, law enforcement and governance for protected areas, participatory governance of protected areas and sustainable tourism planning and management of tourism enterprises.
The course was facilitated by staff from the IUCN Regional Office for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, through the BIOPAMA programme, along with Maria Lucia Prinz from Solimar International. Successful execution of this training was due in part to the contribution of key in-country partners. Sixto Incháustegui, Chairman of the Dominican Republic National Committee of IUCN members, participated in first day by giving welcome remarks and engaging in the discussions around the design and management of protected areas. Patricia Lamelas of Centro para la Conservación y Ecodesarrollo de la Bahia de Samaná y su Entorno (CEBSE), another IUCN member, gave an overview of the participatory governance structure in place in the Bay of Samaná for the management of Whale Watching activities and recommended this activity as the practical aspect of the training.
About the value of providing this training in Spanish, Hyacinth Armstrong-Vaughn said, on behalf of IUCN:“This was the first training coordinated by the BIOPAMA programme that was executed completely in Spanish. We wanted to ensure that we reach as many persons in our geographic scope as possible. It was also important to us to build bridges across the language divide we have in the region so we are pleased to have had the participation of professionals from the English-speaking and French-speaking Caribbean with capacity to function in the Spanish language”.
The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of the Dominican Republic endorsed the training by ensuring the capacity of 12 personnel spanning the different regions of the country was built during the week long experience. They also facilitated an excursion to Los Tres Ojos National Park in Santo Domingo, a beautiful cave system.
One of the trainees, Ekers Raposo, Department Manager for Management of the Protected Areas in the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of The Dominican Republic commented: “It is now a matter of working with staff who participated in the training and the central administration to harmonize this new knowledge into the operation of the Ministry. The course does not end here as the process of exchange and sharing will continue via electronic media. I am very happy with the training we received.”