Caribbean Marine Conservationists Benefit from Regional Capacity Building Partnership

19 February 2015

St. George’s, Grenada, February 20th. Twenty three regional marine conservation professionals, including four from within Grenada, are spending nine days sharing information and best practices that could lead to more sustainable usage of marine protected areas (MPA) in their home countries.

This is through their participation in the 11th edition of the Training of Trainers on MPA Management regional course, which is being hosted by the Fisheries Division in St. George’s, Grenada. The 2015 course, gathering the largest number of participants since it was initiated in 1997, includes modules on biophysical characteristics of coastal ecosystems, ecosystem services and threats to their resilience, communication and outreach tools, MPA management operations, research and monitoring, sustainable financing and alternative livelihoods through creation of ecotourism operations, resources for meeting obligations to regional and international agreements, along with a field trip.

Addressing participants at the opening session on February 17, Roland Baldeo, Grenada’s National Marine Protected Area Coordinator said: “This Training of Trainers course for MPA managers in Grenada comes at an opportune time as we seek to develop and build capacity with our local staff in order to have better and more capable MPA managers. Grenada is therefore pleased to be hosting such an important regional training course, and we are optimistic about the numerous benefits that would be derived locally from such a program.”

In welcoming the participants, who are also drawn from Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, St Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago, IUCN BIOPAMA Protected Areas Officer Hyacinth Armstrong-Vaughn said: “BIOPAMA is pleased to partner with UNEP-CEP, CaMPAM, TNC and the Grenada Fisheries Division in delivering this important programme that has been building capacity in the region for over 15 years. The skills and information imparted will help improve how our marine resources are managed and expand the professional network for many of our natural resource practitioners.”

The 2015 edition of course, which runs until February 26, has been organized and funded by the EU-ACP Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management (BIOPAMA) programme, with contributions from the CaMPAM-ECMMAN Small Grants managed and coordinated by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Caribbean Environment Programme (CEP) through its Specially Protected Area and Wildlife (SPAW) Regional Activity Centre for The Nature Conservancy (TNC), as well as the Grenada Fisheries Division.

The course was initiated in 1997 by CaMPAM – a professional network organized to strengthen marine areas under protection or management, which was developed by UNEP’s CEP under the regional treaty on biodiversity known as SPAW. Alessandra Vanzella-Khouri, Programme Officer, SPAW thanked BIOPAMA for making this year’s workshop possible. “UNEP-CEP views this type of collaboration with partners such as BIOPAMA as critical to achieve the conservation agenda of Caribbean countries and for the sustainable livelihoods of communities. Other potential synergies with BIOPAMA include joining forces on further developing capacities and managing information for the application of tools for planning coastal and marine sustainable activities with an ecosystem-based approach; tools which consider the need for these economic activities to flourish while conserving the same resources on which they depend.”

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