Promoting action for island conservation and sustainable livelihoods by inspiring leadership, catalyzing commitments and facilitating collaboration among all islands.
Caribbean Challenge Initiative (CCI)
Caribbean Challenge Initiative (CCI) so far involves eight island nations — The Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda as well as Saint Kitts and Nevis. Five countries have made formal commitments to protect at least 20% of the near-shore marine and coastal habitats by 2020. All eight countries are participating in the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund that will provide sustainable financing for their national protected areas.
From Commitment to Action
Since its launch in 2007, there has been significant progress on advancing biodiversity conservation in all eight countries. Recent highlights include:
Advancements in sustainable financing, with US$32 million already pledged to date to capitalize the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund that will be launched in 2012
Development of ‘Master Plans’ for establishing effective national systems of protected areas
US$20 million in grants awarded by the Global Environment Facility to support implementation of the Caribbean Challenge Initiative.
A medium-sized grant fund for projects in support of the Caribbean Challenge Initiative was launched with funding from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Representatives of ministries of finance and environment involved in the Caribbean Challenge Initiative met in Grenada and Mexico in late 2011 to share advances made on the Initiative and to lay the groundwork for the next phase.
The Caribbean Marine Protected Areas Management Network and Forum (CAMPAM) provides regional networking, coordination and support to the Caribbean Challenge Initiative.
Impacts on the Ground
Since 2007, nearly 50 new protected areas have been declared (three in The Bahamas, three in Grenada, eight in Jamaica and over 30 in the Dominican Republic).
A field station was constructed on Jamaica’s Pedro Bank, soon to be designated as a new Fish Sanctuary.
Two marine zoning plans were completed (for the Dominican Republic’s Samana Bay and for St. Kitts and Nevis’ entire Exclusive Economic Zone) to help support new protected area declarations and to improve management.In the Dominican Republic, 90 officials from the Ministry of the Environment completed certificate courses in protected area management and sustainable tourism.
At the national level, drawing on GEF grants and other fast-start financing, governments and their partners will likely focus on five closely linked priorities:
To complete Protected Area Master Plans
To establish and capitalize national protected area trust funds
To create new sustainable finance mechanisms (e.g. tourism-based fees and debt-for-resilience swaps)
To advance needed legal and policy actions
To develop and implement ecosystem based adaptation to climate change projects
At the regional level, the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund will be a high priority. Over the next year, the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund will be established and operationalized. Efforts to mobilize additional contributions will also begin.
The Caribbean Challenge initiative has tremendous potential to chart a new course for the Caribbean’s marine and coastal environment, and to deliver a brighter future for the people of the region.