Taking action to further develop the Bahamas protected areas management system, the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) partnered with IUCN on a workshop from January 21 – 23 2014 to initiate the process of assigning categories to its national parks. The event, called “Protected Areas Management Categories Analysis for the Bahamas: Building a Common Language and Setting the Scene,” included representatives from IUCN, BNT, the Bahamas Environment Science and Technology (BEST) Commission, the Bahamas Department of Marine Resources, the Antiquities Monuments and Museums Corporation and The Nature Conservancy (TNC).
The workshop included presentations on the state of the Bahamas’ protected areas system, an introduction to IUCN’s management categories guidelines, plenary discussions on case studies and the concerns and implications of the process of assigning management categories to protected areas in the Bahamas.
“The process of assigning management categories to our national parks will help facilitate the planning of protected areas and protected area systems managed by BNT and other agencies, improve information management about protected areas and assist to regulate activities within protected areas,” said BNT Executive Director Eric Carey.
José Courrau, Senior Advisor on Protected Areas at the IUCN-ORMA office and Hyacinth Armstrong-Vaughn, Protected Areas Officer of IUCN’s Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management Programme (BIOPAMA), represented IUCN during the event. “This workshop is part of a three-session process. This first session will provide technical information to level the field among participants and will also identify the main issues related to management categories and protected areas overall in the Bahamas,” said Courrau.
The next two sessions will take place in April and June and will provide an opportunity to review the work accomplished by Bahamas since January, which consists of collecting and studying pertinent documents such as protected area management plans and background information. A timeline and work plan is the expected result of the final workshop. This is the first time Bahamas has engaged in a review of their protected areas management categories. After the process is completed, Bahamas will become one of the first countries in the Caribbean that has conducted such a review.