Thirteen professionals voiced the Caribbean perspectives, knowledge and actions for a protected planet in the Caribbean, at the third Congress on Protected Areas for Latin America and the Caribbean (CAPLAC III), held in Lima, Peru, 14-17 October 2019.
The BIOPAMA Programme is a joint undertaking between the IUCN and Joint Research Centre (JRC), currently working in Africa, the Caribbean (15 countries) and the Pacific - ACP regions. Thirteen Caribbean countries were represented at the Congress, with the support from the BIOPAMA programme. They participated in a variety of activities and engaged in debates showcasing the biodiversity and protected areas situation, challenges and solutions in the Caribbean.
In his opening remarks Sebastian Chaletus, representative of the European Union, stated the role of the BIOPAMA programme, which mobilizes 60 million euros across the ACP region, as a powerful tool helping standardize monitoring and quality management. “Today what makes the difference for biodiversity, climate change and gender is knowledge”, as Chaletus said.
“Programmes like BIOPAMA which have a regional scope allow Caribbean countries to interact engage and learn from each other and add values to stakeholders”, highlighted Hyacinth Armstrong Vaughn, BIOPAMA regional coordinator for the Caribbean region, who moderated the panel discussion.
The BIOPAMA programme focuses on biodiversity conservation and protected areas management through capacity building for regional and national institutions and improving access to and availability of relevant data.
Tricia Greaux, Marine Management Area and Habitat Monitoring Officer, Department of Marine Resources, St Kitts and Nevis, highlighted the impact of the training BIOPAMA stating, “What was impactful for me was that in the training there was a balance between classroom interactions and field exercises”.
Andrew Lockhart, Superintendent - Marine and Terrestrial Parks, National Parks, Rivers and Beaches Authority, St Vincent and the Grenadines, said that originally, biodiversity conservation was focused on white paper and paper parks but recently -since St Vincent is signatory to the CBD and the implementation of the Aichi targets- it has transitioned towards more sustainable development. Andrew said that working with BIOPAMA and conducting management effectiveness training has caused the department to assess how effective they are in meeting conservation objectives. He stated that the assessment has helped them to plan in a more streamlined manner especially regarding budgets.
BIOPAMA has also contributed by providing the Caribbean Protected Areas Gateway (Caribbean Gateway), a free and open access data management tool, which serves to integrate a diverse range of relevant protected areas and biodiversity data and information across the region. It is an important virtual resource for facilitating and promoting viable decisions and policies by decision-makers and resource managers for more effective and sustainable management of protected areas and biodiversity.