SHAPING A POST-2020 GLOBAL BIODIVERSITY FRAMEWORK – “Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean in the Caribbean”

The Caribbean Region’s life and livelihoods are intrinsically linked to coastal and marine environment. As we give further consideration to the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts, it will require unprecedented innovations emanating from all sectors of society. This would be a necessary move to enable the region to cope with, respond to, and recover from the virus including from the deployment of sustainable oceanbased economies. Shaping a post-2020 global biodiversity framework, provided a timely opportunity for the Region to consider innovation in relation to ocean resources, in parallel with the level of innovation and integration applied to the COVID-19 front.  The Region is called upon to harness the same levels of response to improve the health and resilience of the coastal and maritime ecosystems.This would encompass, inter alia, the development of polices, programmes and practices to reduce ocean pollution and to make food and energy production more sustainable for low-lying coastal and island States.

Accordingly, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, in collaboration with the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission and the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, in recognition of World’s Oceans Day on June 8, 2020, rallied the region’s experts, Biodiversity Negotiators, Regional Youth and other multi-sectoral agencies.This facilitated exchange and discussions among participants, promoting an urgency of action at the highest levels in support of a post-2020 biodiversity framework that contributes to the re-shaping of the Caribbean region’s vision for biodiversity.  The encounter provided the Caribbean negotiators, policy advisors and decision makers an opportunity to be well equipped with technical knowledge provided by expert opinions on thematic areas, as a means of strengthening the region’s position during the negotiation of the post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

In examining the theme, participants agreed for the need to resume sustainable, medium-to long-term benefits from coastal and marine ecosystem services when countries emerge from the collective lockdowns. This need would be sustaineddespite the temptation to engage in activities which would yield quick economic returns and leave the more vulnerable to the impacts of environmental and economic disasters.

The Webinar provided an important engagement for the region in placing the issue of management and sustainable use of ocean resources in the context of recovery from the COVID crisis.  It allowed for a productive discussion on how the region would wish to frame its input on ocean ecosystems in the ongoing articulation of the Global Biodiversity Framework. 

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