German Environment Ministry provides support in establishing a network of marine protected areas in the Eastern Caribbean

Tropical fish and corals

Picture: iStockphoto/Andrew Jalbert

The islands of the Eastern Caribbean are extremely rich in biodiversity, but this diversity is under serious threat due to overexploitation, insufficient management, pollution and climate change. The region's natural resources are essential to the economic prosperity of local people and must be protected and used sustainably. The German Federal Environment Ministry (BMU) is therefore supporting the Eastern Caribbean States in establishing an effective network of marine protected areas.

The project, entitled 'Establishing a climate-resilient network of marine conservation corridor Eastern Caribbean', aims to prepare the way for the creation of an ecological corridor in the Eastern Caribbean. Its main emphasis is on improving data and information systems and creating more opportunities for the local population to participate in planning and management processes. Further objectives include designating new marine protected areas, ensuring more effective and efficient management of existing protected areas, and increasing the financial and institutional sustainability of the network. Within the framework of the International Climate Initiative (ICI), the Environment Ministry has pledged four million euros in funding for this cooperative project.

The BMU project is closely aligned with the Caribbean Challenge Initiative (CCI). This initiative, which was launched during the eighth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP-8) in 2008, aims to preserve the functioning, productivity and capacity for regeneration of natural coastal and marine resources in the Caribbean. At a recent meeting, the governmental representatives of all six partner countries of the ICI project, of whom five are members of the CCI, voiced clear support for the project.