How can data contribute to the sustainable management of protected areas? What is in the future for Marine Protected Areas (MPA) data sharing and access? Dionne Carbon, Research Assistant with the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES), Cave Hill, UWI, shares her vision on these challenges in the Caribbean region. Read it here
Beginning with the Bahamas in September 2015, and continuing with Jamaica, Antigua & Barbuda, Belize, and Grenada up to January 2016, five workshops have been designed to assist the participating countries in building in-country capacity for and developing a systematic approach to collecting and managing biodiversity and protected areas-related data and information. Read more
BIOPAMA will offer a one week training course in Spanish for terrestrially-focused protected area professionals and it targets the Caribbean ACP Spanish speaking countries. The training, scheduled for 11-16 January 2016 in the Dominican Republic, will cover: (1) stakeholder engagement and developing partnerships for PA management; (2) PA design, management category, governance and management planning; (3) developing sustainable livelihoods; and (4) PA-relevant law (basic legislation and principles; regulation, compliance & enforcement and financing). Read more about it in English or Spanish.
INCREASED CAPACITY FOR PROTECTED AREAS IN THE SPANISH SPEAKING CARIBBEAN (26 February 2016)
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.
2 September 2015. Panama City. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and The University of the West Indies (UWI) are pleased to announce that “The Caribbean Protected Areas Gateway (Caribbean Gateway)” was officially launched on September 2, 2015, during the IUCN Regional Conservation Forum in Panama City, Panama. The Caribbean Gateway, that serves to integrate a diverse range of relevant protected areas and biodiversity data and information across the region, is a joint undertaking between the European Union- funded Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management (BIOPAMA) Programme in the Caribbean and UWI’s Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES), an IUCN Member, at the Cave Hill Campus in Barbados.
Over the course of its activities in the Caribbean, the Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management (BIOPAMA) Programme, jointly implemented by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has focused much of its efforts on capacity building among young protected areas managers. One such professional who has benefited from several training opportunities through BIOPAMA is 28-year-old Tricia Greaux, who is currently employed as the Marine Resource Officer responsible for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) at the Department of Marine Resources in the federation of St Kitts and Nevis. Read the interview.
A new strategy intended to support the recommendations on capacity development included in the Promise of Sydney that resulted from the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014 (IUCN WPC) has been completed. The IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) Strategic Framework for Capacity Development in Protected Areas and other Conserved Territories 2015-2025 (SFCD) is the result of a widespread programme of activities and consultations during 2013 and 2014 culminating in the IUCN WPC 2014. Consult the SFCD here.
BOOSTED CAPACITY FOR CARIBBEAN'S TERRESTRIAL PROTECTED AREAS (28 July 2015)
It is estimated that approximately 22 per cent of the land mass in the English-speaking Caribbean is designated as protected areas. 25 professionals tasked with the important job of protecting many of these important resource areas underwent a one week training programme focused on terrestrial protected areas from July 6 to 11, 2015 in Trinidad and Tobago. The training programme was led by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) under the framework of the Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management (BIOPAMA) Programme.
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) managers in the Caribbean have begun to strengthen their informal networks and share initiatives and best practices as a result of undergoing capacity building in part funded by the Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management (BIOPAMA) Programme.
- Conservation Information Management in the Caribbean: Why regional integration matters (1 July 2015)
- Call for participants: capacity development training for terrestrial protected areas (3 June 2015)
- BIOPAMA Observatories update (8 April 2015)
- Views on BIOPAMA by a marine protected areas champion, Dr. Georgina Bustamante (7 April 2015)
- BIOPAMA supports WDPA (3 April 2015)
- Call for expression of interest - Data management trainings (12 March 2015)
- Caribbean training of trainers on marine protected area management (Grenada, 16-25 February 2015)
- Call for participants: Caribbean training for trainers 2015 (19 December 2014)
- BIOPAMA at the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014 (Australia, 12-19 November 2014)
- CERMES to host the Regional Observatory for Protected Areas and Biodiversity for the Caribbean (7 November 2014)
- The 2014 annual meeting of the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute (Bridgetown, Barbados, 3-7 November 2014)
- Final workshop on protected area management categories for the Bahamas (Bahamas, 8-12 September 2014)
- The Caribbean Marine Atlas Phase 2-Kickoff Meeting of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO - International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (25-29 August 2014, Miami, US)
- Protected Areas Management Categories Analysis for the Bahamas (24-26 June, Bahamas)
- BIOPAMA at the Mesoamerican Protected Areas Congress (San José, Costa Rica, 18-21 March 2014)
- Scientific Forum - Developing a Shared Vision for Improving Access to Information for Protected Area Management (St Lucia, 19-21 February 2014)
- BIOPAMA Learning Exchange for Junior Marine Protected Area Managers from the Caribbean Region (Belize, 4-9 February 2014)
- Deadline EoI to host the BIOPAMA Regional Observatory for the Caribbean: 22 January 2014
- Workshop on Protected Area Management Categories (Bahamas, 21-23 January 2014)
- Launch of the Call for expression of Interest to host the BIOPAMA Regional Observatory for the Caribbean 16 December 2013
- Recruitment of new IUCN focal point for BIOPAMA Caribbean (November 2013)
- BIOPAMA strenghens position in the Caribbean at the meetings of two major PA management initiatives: the Summit of Caribbean Political and Business Leaders (May 2013) and the Mid-Term Evaluation of the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF, July 2013)
- BIOPAMA Caribbean Regional Inception Workshop (Barbados, 21-23 January 2013)
- BIOPAMA Global Inception Workshop (Switzerland, March 2012)
The Caribbean region is characterized by an enormous ecological, cultural, political and economic diversity. Insular and coastal ecosystems are predominant. High biodiversity and a great variety of landforms and habitats is also marked by by high population densities, especially in the Insular Caribbean.
Caribbean economies are strongly dependent on natural resources and while tourism, in addition to mining and oil exploration, represents a major income source, there are significant impacts of these activities on the environment.
Main threats and challenges
Excessive resource exploitation, such as overfishing, puts pressure on natural resources. Caribbean coral reefs are threatened by climate change, including rising sea levels and temperatures. Invasive alien species are a widespread threat to native biodiversity.
Present environmental degradation is aggravated by unsustainable consumption patterns, increased demand for environmental goods and services, demographic change towards high population density in environmentally sensitive areas such as coastal zones, and ecosystem fragmentation.
Language barriers and limited conservation experience and skills present difficulties for project implementation, as do a lack of regional cooperation and institutional coordination. Most institutions in the region are constrained by lack of staff and resources.
Protected areas in the Caribbean region
Less than seven percent of the islands and waters of the Caribbean are protected. Protected area networks have developed unevenly in the region and are incomplete, with some countries, having major gaps.
Establishment of marine protected areas has focused on coral reefs and mangroves, with important seagrass ecosystems being underrepresented. Public knowledge of the value of protected areas is inadequate, and their economic benefits are not being realized sufficiently. Institutions involved with protected areas are usually small, understaffed, and under-trained.
Lack of experience at the institutional and individual level is another issue, stemming from the fact that many protected areas were established only recently. This stands in stark contrast to the extremely complex ecological, social and economic challenges that protected area managers face. Major conflicts often occur within marine protected areas between the fish and tourism industries, particularly between fisher folk and divers.