The development of the report on the State of Marine Habitats in the Wider Caribbean (SoMH) and the Regional Strategy and Action Plan for the Valuation, Protection and/or Restoration of Key Marine Habitats in the Wider Caribbean 2021-2030 (RSAP) will result in new tools for the sustainable management of coastal resources regionally.
The Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) is facilitating the preparation of the SoMH and RSAP on behalf of the United Nations Environment Program (UN Environment) — Caribbean Environment Program (CEP) Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW) Sub-program and the Caribbean and North Brazil Shelf Large Marine Ecosystems (CLME+) Project (2015-2020).
The SoMH provides baseline information on the status of coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass beds as well as a snapshot of key initiatives and responses to habitat degradation and mismanagement. It uses the DPSIR (Driver, Pressure, State, Impact, Response) analytical framework to examine the marine habitats of the Wider Caribbean.
The RSAP is a 10-year mechanism for coordinated regional management of coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass beds. The strategy and action plan will allow collaborative and complementary action by governments, regional/international agencies, civil society, private sector and academic institutions in coastal/marine natural resource management within a regional framework.
The RSAP will help to manage transboundary marine resources and address gaps in the implementation of National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs). It underscores the importance of partnerships between government, civil society, private sector and academic institutions in implementation of activities ‘on the ground.’
The project began in September 2018 and has since engaged stakeholders in facilitating several rounds of strategizing, review and feedback, including two regional workshops held in Panama. The first workshop was held on Dec. 3 and 4, 2018 and involved 39 participants from 23 countries. The second workshop, also held in Panama, on March 13 and 14, 2019, was attended by 24 participants from 16 countries in the project region. Participants at both workshops represented government departments, regional and international agencies as well as national civil society organizations.
The SoMH and RSAP will help bring about practical and innovative actions for marine resource conservation and management through shared experiences and best practices, while supporting CLME+ SPAW countries to meet international and regional MEA (multilateral environmental agreements) targets and objectives.
A document summarizing the broad framework for the development, implementation and institutionalization of the SoMH and RSAP will be presented to the Tenth Meeting of the Contracting Parties (COP) to the Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (COP 10) in June 2019.