The Biodiversity in Protected Areas Management (BIOPAMA) Program is leveraging its network of protected areas (PA) managers, conservationists, researchers, and associated multilateral agencies operating in the same sphere, to undertake the first State of Protected Areas (SoPA) report for the Caribbean region in over two decades.
The SoPA report for the Caribbean region will be a comprehensive regional assessment of PAs and PA systems. It will provide the facts and figures required by governments and others to make informed decisions, and function as a baseline for tracking progress in meeting national and international targets, while highlighting strategies toward a sustainable future.
The report is expected to be issued in late 2019 and the BIOPAMA team in the Caribbean hosted an inception workshop on September 5 and 6, 2018, in Bridgetown, Barbados, which brought together a core group of participants representing seven countries and eight organisations to outline the actions necessary to develop, produce and disseminate the SoPA report.
Present at this initial meeting were representatives from the United Nations Environment - Caribbean Environment Programme (UNE-CEP); the United Nations - Food and Agriculture Organisation (UN-FAO); The Nature Conservancy (TNC); the Caribbean and North Brazil Shelf Large Marine Ecosystems (CLME+) project; the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission; the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund (CBF); the Caribbean Marine Protected Areas Management (CaMPAM) Network. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the University of the West Indies, through the Caribbean Protected Areas Gateway, will lead the overall process. Other relevant regional, national and local stakeholders will be engaged as the process progresses. Other key stakeholders will be engaged as the process progresses including, government, local experts, and non-Governmental organisations (NGOs) within the BIOPAMA membership countries, and the wider Caribbean to a lesser extent.
BIOPAMA Caribbean coordinator Hyacinth Armstrong-Vaughn explained, “Within this second phase of BIOPAMA, the SoPA reporting will add value to regional and global reporting and monitoring mechanisms and help with the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources in protected areas. The SoPA report will aim to provide an overview of the protected area landscape in the region and outline the progress being made towards the various goals and targets that exist (e.g. the Aichi Biodiversity Target 11 of the Convention on Biological Diversity).”
“The SoPA report will include the latest information on protected area coverage, management, governance, and connectivity in the Caribbean Region as well as a review of protected area issues of particular relevance to the region, including economic benefits, marine resources management and disaster risk reduction,” Armstrong-Vaughn said.
The meeting succeeded in providing an initial framework for the SoPA report structure and content including; defining the geographic scope and thematic areas; identifying existing national, regional and global reporting mechanisms and processes that the report could support; identifying potential contributors, authors, and information sources; and producing a detailed outline of the full report with a production timeline that included mechanisms for raising awareness of, and disseminating, the SoPA report.
Armstrong-Vaughn noted that this initial report is scheduled to be followed by an updated report in 2023, and it is envisioned that the report stakeholders will undertake to update the report every three to four years.