I need not discuss the linkages between the work of the Regional Seas Programmes and the SDG targets on Protected Areas, as these linkages are self-evident. However, what needs to be emphasized is the strength of this global network of Regional Seas Programmes and its significant impact on, and direct support of, the world’s marine protected area network.
The Cartagena Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region, and its Protocol on Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW) have had an impressive 20-year history of working with countries bordering the Caribbean Sea on the issue of Marine Protected Areas. The SPAW Programme Officer and the CaMPaM Network has had many achievements, culminating in the prestigious IUCN Packard Award in 2015 for inspiring Caribbean protected area leaders and managers.
The successes that we can showcase have been the result of a number of characteristics, not unique in themselves, but in their combination within the Regional Seas Programme. First we have legal frameworks, a sustained institutional presence and a mandate from Member States facilitates access to resources and building of partnerships. These elements also give us the platform, the convening power, and the close links to Government and their institutions on the ground, allowing us to develop activities that respond directly to the MPA needs of Member States.
In the area of capacity building and cooperation, we have an excellent MPA managers’ Training Programme with over 2,000 protected areas practitioners participating over the last 19 years. Almost 200 Trainers were developed in the Training of Trainers programme. We have awarded over 90 grants to MPA staff, community organizations and/or fishers, for dissemination of MPA best management practices where the proposals range from 3 months to 3 years, from 4,000 – 220,000 each, responding to needs for stakeholder consultations, education and outreach, equipment, and facilities. A listserve provides updated information resources for the entire regional community, and our links with regional scientific research institutions ensures that protected area practitioners always have access to cutting edge data and information for decision making. Such is the strength of the Regional Seas Programme with respect to the delivery of SDG 14 Target 5, at the same time delivering Target 11 of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.
Improved areas of focus for global target delivery would be strengthening further the already strong links between MPA programmes of different regional Seas MPA programme, facilitating interregional exchanges, training, presentations, best practices and lessons learned.
(Speech made by Dr. Lorna Inniss, Coordinator of the Caribbean Environment Programme)