CARICOM targets year-end for regional biodiversity strategy
Posted in: Press Releases | 18 June 2018 | 254
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat has resolved to present to the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) by the end of the year, a CARICOM Biodiversity Strategy (CBS). The Strategy will guide the protection and sustainable use the Community’s natural resources.
This effort, according to CARICOM Assistant Secretary-General, Directorate of Human and Social Development, Dr. Douglas Slater, is collective and timely to accelerate progress in achieving regional commitments under the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity (CBD).
Dr. Slater was at the time speaking at the Opening Ceremony of the Participatory Regional Workshop for development of the CARICOM Biodiversity Strategy at the Secretariat Headquarters in Georgetown, Guyana.
The CBS is an output under the Caribbean Hub sub-component of Phase II of the Programme for Capacity-Building related to Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP)countries.
The process was funded by the European Union under the 10th European Development Fund and received implementation support from UN Environment, Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), CBD Secretariat. The Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) is aiding the development of the CBS for the CARICOM Secretariat and is also facilitating the Workshop.
Dr. Slater noted that biodiversity and the regional economy were “deeply interconnected.” The natural ecosystems of the Region provided the people of the Community with essential goods and services such as food and nutrition, medicine, recreation, fuel, storm protection, and climate resilience, he added.
For those reasons, it was critical to “pause and take stock”, he said.
The CARICOM Secretariat, in collaboration with UN Environment, has therefore coordinated the preparation of a progress report titled State of Biodiversity in the Caribbean – a review of the progress towards the Aichi biodiversity targets, which will be released shortly.
Dr. Slater said that the CBS will allow COTED to advise on the post-2020 biodiversity priorities for the Region and establish linkages to the Small Island Developing States (SIDs) agenda, as well as the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
According to Ms. Ileana Catalina Lopez, Programme Officer, Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife Sub-Programme at the CBD, collective effort among all countries of the Caribbean, and not only members of CARICOM, was required in developing the Biodiversity Strategy. She delivered a statement on behalf of Dr. Cristiana Paşca Palmer, Assistant Secretary-General, Executive Secretary of the CBD.
Given the importance of biodiversity to the Caribbean, she noted that Parties to the Convention had adopted a specific Programme of Work to help manage biological assets. Practices were observed in the development of greener resorts, more sustainable yachting and boating, and sustainable procurement of food, materials and services for the tourism sector.
Many island Parties, she noted, had launched the Global Islands Partnership, GLISPA, for which the CBD Secretariat supported implementation.
She said the Region’s diversity made it one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, and therefore, several landmark projects were ongoing, including the Caribbean Challenge Initiative and its Biodiversity Trust Fund.
In brief remarks to the Opening, Mr. Francisco Rilla of the International Governance Unit, UN Environment in Nairobi, Kenya, committed the support and cooperation of his agency to the development of the Strategy. He expressed appreciation to the European Commission for its support to the ACP Programme for the implementation of Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs).
The Caribbean Biodiversity Strategy is expected to expand areas of consideration in the Draft Community Environment and Natural Resources Policy Framework and Action Plan, by placing specific emphasis on biological resources. The workshop, which ends on Friday, 15 June, was also addressed by Ms. Layla El Khadraoui, Chargé d’Affaires a.i., EU Delegation in Guyana.
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