I am now once again in “playing catch-up” mode, so forgive me. Several important meetings have been taking place recently related directly to environmental concerns in Jamaica and the Caribbean, and this is perhaps the most critical for our marine environment. Here is a press release regarding a series of meetings in Miami this week, hosted by the U.S. Government and convened by the United Nations Environment Programme – Caribbean Environment Programme (UN-CEP) headquartered in Kingston. As I have noted before, Jamaica is one of the few Caribbean countries that has not ratified the Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW) Protocol, which it signed in 1990 and which entered into force in June, 2000 (the SPAW Protocol Secretariat is actually based in Kingston).
Here is UNEP’s press release with more details on the meetings:
October 27, 2016
Over 60 scientific and technical experts from the Wider Caribbean Region (WCR), representing Governments, Research Institutions, Intergovernmental and Non-Governmental Organizations, and the Private Sector, will meet in Miami, Florida from October 31st – November 4th to discuss current and emerging pollution and biodiversity issues impacting the Caribbean Sea.
A series of two meetings, hosted by the Government of the United States – the Third Meeting of the Scientific Committee to the Protocol Concerning Pollution from Land-based Sources (LBS) (31st October – 2nd November) and the Seventh Meeting of the Scientific Committee to the Protocol concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW) (2nd – 4th November) will be convened by UN Environment (UNEP’s) Caribbean Environmental Programme in its capacity as Secretariat to the Cartagena Convention for the Protection and Development of the Caribbean Sea.
These technical advisory meetings are convened every two years by the Jamaica-based Secretariat to evaluate its work over the previous biennium, review achievements and challenges, and develop the Secretariat’s next Work Plan and Budget.
According to Dr. Lorna Inniss, Coordinator of the Caribbean Environment Programme, “the region’s continued economic development relies on the sustainable use and management of its vulnerable coastal and marine resources, which are the basis for tourism, fisheries and coastal protection.” According to Dr. Inniss, “while the region had made some progress in pollution prevention and biodiversity protection, much more needs to be done in the area of oceans governance if we are to fully benefit from emerging blue growth opportunities.”
Financial support for these meetings has been provided by the Government of the United States and the Global Environment Facility-funded Caribbean and North Brazil Shelf Large Marine Ecosystems Project (“the UNDP/GEF CLME+ Project”, 2015-2020). The support from the UNDP/GEF CLME+ project in particular has enabled the CEP Secretariat, for the first time, to have pollution and biodiversity experts from the region meeting together to foster more integrated management approaches and management solutions to more complex environmental challenges.
Habitat degradation, pollution and unsustainable fisheries and fishing practices, exacerbated by climate change are the main challenges for coastal and marine resources managers and are at the core for sustainable livelihoods in the region. To address these issues, more integrated approaches have been articulated in the 10-year Strategic Action Programme (“the CLME+ SAP”, 2015-2025) and its vision of having “a healthy marine environment that provides benefits and livelihoods for the well-being of its people.” This SAP has been politically endorsed by 25 countries and is being directly supported by the work of UNEP-CEP along with several other regional partner agencies.
According to Mr. Christopher Corbin, Programme Officer with responsibility for the Pollution sub- programme of UNEP CEP, “the development of regional platforms for reducing pollution from solid waste and marine litter, nutrients from poor agricultural practices, and untreated wastewater has been one of the main achievements for the sub-programme.” While expressing disappointment that Jamaica was the only new country to ratify the Pollution (LBS) Protocol during the last biennium, bringing the total number of Contracting Parties to 12 out of a total of 28, several other countries have indicated a commitment to sign. The LBS Protocol calls on countries to reduce the negative environmental and human health impacts of land-based pollution including solid waste and sewage.
Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Programme Officer, Mrs. Alessandra Vanzella–Khouri, emphasized that “many of the pollutants from land and sea, as well as poor practices, are directly impacting on coastal and marine ecosystems such as coral reefs and mangroves. These sustain many of the countries’ economies by providing services for tourism, fisheries and coastal protection”. Poor land use practices, overfishing and destruction of marine habitats underscores the critical need for integrated ecosystem- based approaches. According to Mrs. Vanzella-Khouri, “such approaches are already showing direct benefits in countries like The Bahamas, Belize, Colombia, Grenada and the USA, where management and conservation tools like Marine Protected Areas and networks are effectively being implemented.” Additional countries also need to join Cartagena’s biodiversity treaty (SPAW Protocol) to ensure that regional cooperation efforts for the sustainable management of marine resources are not undermined but rather integrated and enhanced.
UN Environment (UNEP) CaribbeanEnvironment Programme (CEP)
- Protocol concerning Cooperation in combating Oil Spills, which entered into force on October 11, 1986;
- Protocol concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW), which entered into force on June 18, 2000;
- Protocol concerning Pollution from Land-based sources and activities (LBS), which entered into force on August 13, 2010.Each Protocol is supported by a technical Regional Activity Centre (RAC). These centres are based in Curacao (Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Information and Training Centre for the Wider Caribbean, RAC/REMPEITC) for the Oil Spills Protocol; in Guadeloupe (SPAW RAC for the SPAW Protocol); and in Cuba, (Centre of Engineering and Environmental Management of Coasts and Bays) and Trinidad & Tobago, (the Institute of Marine Affairs), both for the LBS Protocol.
The Regional Coordinating Unit (UNEP-CAR/RCU), established in 1986, serves as the Secretariat to the Cartagena Convention and the Caribbean Environment Programmeand is based in Kingston, Jamaica.
For more information: http://www.cep.unep.org
The UNDP/GEF CLME+ Project is a 5-year project (2015-2020) implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and co-financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The CLME+ Project is executed by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), in close collaboration with a large number of global, regional and national-level partners. The regional Project Coordination Unit is located within the IOCARIBE Offices of the IOC of UNESCO, in Cartagena, Colombia.
To find out more about the work of UNEP CAR-RCU, the Cartagena Convention and its Oil Spills, SPAW and LBS Protocols, please visit our website at http://www.cep.unep.org.
We are also on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/UNEP-Caribbean-Environment-Programme, Twitter at: https://twitter.com/UNEP_CEP, and Youtube at: https://www.youtube.com/user/CEPUNEP/featured
For more information, please contact:
Mr. Christopher Corbin
Officer in Charge of Communications UNEP CAR/RCU
14-20 Port Royal Street
Telephone: 1(876) 922-9267-9, Fax:1 (876)922-9292, Email: email@example.com