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The Trust Fund is a newly established and independent scheme aimed at raising money to tackle the territory’s climate change-related issues, by increasing energy efficiency and utilizing alternative energies.
After residents give their feedback on the applicants by September 16 this year, nine persons will be chosen to sit on the Board.
The selection will be done by Premier Dr D Orlando Smith and Dr Kedrick Pickering who is the minister of natural resources and labour.
“I am pleased with the number and calibre of persons who took up this noble challenge, and have offered themselves to serve on this important Board. The success of the Trust Fund rests heavily on the ability and commitment of its Board, and I wish to thank all those participating in the process.”
The nine-member board, which will include six representatives from the private sector and civil society, will have executive control and management of the affairs of the Climate Change Trust Fund. They will make final decisions on all applications for funding.
The BVI is the first Caribbean island to pass legislation for the establishment of a Climate Change Trust Fund.
The Virgin Islands Climate Change Trust Fund Act took effect on January 1 this year.
Below is a list of the persons seeking to become members of the aforementioned Board.
- Benedict Bamford – Tourism; Individual
- Douglas Riegels – Tourism
- John Klein – Tourism, Any other sectortor
- Monique Adams – Financial Services
- Nelson Samuel – Financial Services
- Pauline Robinson – Financial Services
- Shelly Bend – Financial Services, Individual
- Chezley Stoddard – Any other sector/NGO or CBO
- Edward Childs – Any other sector
- Mitsy Simpson – Any other sector
- Ronnie Lettsome – Any other sector, Individual
- Stephanie Faulker Williams – Any other sector, Individual
- Eva Baskin – Academia or research organisation
- Dr Karl Dawson – Academia or research organisation
- Charlotte McDevitt – NGO
- Sarah Smith – NGO
- Shannon Gore – NGO
- Akilah Anderson – Individual
- Colin Bramble – Individual
- Dominic Clyde-Smith – Individual
- John Lewis – Individual
- Karen Fraser – Individual
- Lionel Penn II – Individual
- Michael Fonseca – Individual
- Rosemary Delaney-Smith – Individual
- Saski Laing – Individual
- Susan Babson – Individual
Credit: BVI News
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is partnering with a number of governments as it strives to help boost the resilience of member states to climate change.
The CARICOM region, with its 15 islands, is considered one of the world’s most important areas of biodiversity. The region is now moving fast towards the sustainable management of both marine areas and coastal resources.
A new partnership between CARICOM and the German government involves the protection of these precious resources from the impacts of climate change.
“Our story is about how we were able to set the boundaries in terms of the fisheries reserve. You realise now as ecotourism, as the product developed, we have more users of the area. We need to protect the reef. We need to protect the fisheries industry,” says Anthony Charles, representative of the Soufriere Marine Management Agency. That body is responsible for protecting over 12 kilometres of rich biodiversity, including mountains, rivers, active volcanoes and coral reefs.
Charles says partnerships with friendly governments are crucial in continuing efforts to combat the challenges posed to these resources, particularly diminishing fish stocks.
“The generation of fisher(s) that we had 15 years ago is completely different to what we have today and clearly education, advocacy is very important because we realise it’s not just the matter of the fishing industry, it’s the protection and the sustainable use of our resources,” he said.
Representative of the German government Michael Freudenberg says the partnership with CARICOM is based on a commitment to develop renewable energy and energy efficiency.
“The Caribbean is particularly vulnerable to the observed and projected impacts of climate change because of its geographic location and reliance on natural resources for economic activities and livelihoods … Germany supports regional cooperation as a tool to combine our efforts for the countries affected by climate change and under-development. Saint Lucia can bear witness, I think, to climate-related disasters and the effects of national resilience and national solidarity,” he said.
The experts say climate change is negatively impacting on the sustainability and resilience of the marine ecosystem, diminishing erosion protection and natural barriers that protect against storm surges and rising sea levels. This is impacting sectors like tourism and fisheries, which directly depend upon the quality of the marine environment.
The coastal and marine ecosystems of the Caribbean are among the most threatened in the world. CARICOM is hoping that by strengthening relations with friendly governments, it can ensure the prudent management and use of those resources.
The Wider Caribbean Region (WCR) has the greatest concentration of plant and animal species in the Atlantic Ocean Basin. Yet these precious, and often irreplaceable, natural resources are disappearing at an astounding rate. The vast majority of all species are threatened by habitat loss or modification in addition to unsustainable practices such as over-fishing, unplanned coastal development and pollution. These same habitats are often the main source of food and income for many coastal communities.
The Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW) of the Cartagena Convention, is a regional agreement for biodiversity management and conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region, in existence since 1990. It is managed by the United Nations Caribbean Environment Programme (CEP) and it became international law in 2000. It aims to protect critical marine and coastal ecosystems while promoting regional co-operation and sustainable development.
To date, sixteen countries from the region have ratified the Protocol: The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, France (through its Departments of Guadeloupe, Guyane, Martinique, Saint-Barthélémy and Saint-Martin), Grenada, Guyana, The Netherlands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, Sint-Eustatius and Sint Maarten), Panama, Saint-Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, United States, and Venezuela.
Since 2012 SPAW has created a regional network of protected areas (PAs) or key conservation sites listed by the member governments under the Protocol. Under this network these sites benefit from a cooperation programme supported by SPAW, which includes: increased recognition and awareness as places of importance locally, regionally and globally; increased local and national pride resulting in national responsibility to support management; higher visibility with the possible result of increases in employment opportunities and income due to increased tourism marketing of the area; grants and technical assistance provided through SPAW; opportunities for enhancing capacity, management, protection and sustainability; and, opportunities for support of species conservation, pollution control and sustainable finance.
Countries which are party to the Protocol are invited to apply for their protected areas to be so listed using online forms. To be selected, sites must satisfy a rigorous set of ecological as well as cultural and socio-economic criteria. Applications are reviewed by the UN SPAW secretariat as well as by external experts prior to their approval by the Protocol’s scientific committee and it’s biennial Conference of Parties (COP). On 9th December 2014, in Cartagena, Colombia, the Protocol’s Eighth COP approved thirteen new protected areas:
The Regional Natural Park of wetlands between the Rivers León and Suriquí, Colombia
The Saba National Marine Park, the Kingdom of the Netherlands
The Saint Eustatius National Marine Park, the Kingdom of the Netherlands
The Man O War Shoal Marine Park (Sin t Maarten), the Kingdom of the Netherlands
The Reserve “Etang des Salines”, Martinique, France
The Reserve “Versants Nord de la Montagne Pelée, Martinique, France
The Port Honduras Marine Reserve, Belize
La Caleta Submarine Park, Dominican Republic
National Park Jaragua, Dominican Republic
Reserve “Los Haitises”, Dominican Republic
National Park “Sierra de Bahoruco”, Dominican Republic
Tobago Cays Marine Park, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
“Molinière Beauséjour” Marine Protected Area, Grenada
These protected areas vary greatly in description and characteristics. However they all meet the criteria for listing under SPAW. These include ecological value, and cultural and socio-economic benefits. A quick look at two of the areas listed illustrates this.
The Saint Eustatius National Marine Park, established in 1996 in the Eastern Caribbean, is only 27.5 square kilometres in area and extends around the entire island of Saint Eustatius, from the high water line to 30 metre depth contour. It protects a variety of habitats, including pristine coral reefs and 18th century shipwrecks. It includes two no-take zones (reserves) as well as general use zones and designated anchoring zones for large commercial ships. There is high biodiversity in its coral reefs and a wide variety of tropical reef creatures resides in and around these reefs as well, including the commercially important lobster and conch, key predators such as sharks and the endangered Sea Horses. Three species of sea turtles (all of them are endangered or critically endangered species) nest regularly on the island’s Zeelandia Beach – the leatherback, the greenand the hawksbill. Dolphins and large whales regularly visit and can often be heard as they migrate through the Marine Park between January and April. A number of birds live almost exclusively in the open ocean environment, using St Eustatius as a breeding ground or migratory stop over, such as the Audubon’s Shearwater Puffins and Red Billed Tropicbirds.
St Eustatius is also site of Statia Terminals, an oil transhipment facility, including one of the deepest mooring stations for super tankers in the world, located immediately south of the northern marine reserve on the West coast and which has been in operation since 1982 and expanded in 1993. It employs 10 per cent of the island’s population. During the 18th century, this was one of the busiest ports in the world, hence the presence of shipwrecks within the marine park up to today.
In contrast, the Port Honduras Marine Reserve (PHMR), established in 2000, in Belize is 405 square kilometres in area and has three adjacent and nearby human settlements: Monkey River, Punta Negra and Punta Gorda. It is unique along the coast of Central America in lagoon system size and the number of in-shore mangrove islands. It is in relatively pristine condition and includes coastal and tidal wetlands, marine lagoons, and mangrove islands with associated shallow banks and fringing coral reefs. Almost all of the coastal and island vegetation, including mangroves, is intact. Maintaining coastal ecosystem functions and natural resource values, including water quality and nursery habitats of the area, is important in order to protect biodiversity and traditional fishers’ livelihoods. It is a major breeding and nursery area for juveniles of many species. Threats are expected to increase as the area is attracting more visitors for fly-fishing and sailing.
The SPAW Protocol and the listing of Marine Protected Areas is driven by the need to first recognize sites of great regional and international ecological and socio-economic value and then put measures in place to protect and conserve these areas. The Caribbean’s rich and beautiful natural heritage deserves our best efforts while also protecting the sustainable livelihoods of coastal communities.
For further information: Alejandro Laguna - Comunication and Information Officer United Nations Environment Programme, Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean Clayton, Ciudad del Saber - Alberto Tejada, Building 103; Ancon - Panama City, Panama. Phone.: 305 3100 email@example.com
Credit: UNEP Environment for Development
The launch featured the official handing over of various equipment by the German Ambassador Stefan Schlüter to the Hon. Roland Bhola, Minister of Agriculture, Lands, Forestry, Fisheries & Environment, a highly informative and lively presentation by MPA Coordinator Roland Baldeo on the work of the Molinière-Beauséjour Marine Protected Area (MPA), and the opening of the new MPA administrative office. There was also a lionfish information display, featuring live lionfish aquarium and delicious lionfish tasting!
CATS is an umbrella program that follows a ‘Ridge-to-Reef Approach’ by bringing together two topical projects, namely one on “Adaptation of Rural Economies and Natural Resources to Climate Change”, and the other on the “Management of Coastal Resources and Conservation of Marine Biodiversity”.
In the case of CATS, the ‘Concept of Herding CATS’ has been adopted, which will aid the region to effectively coordinate the support provided by various International Development Partners (IDP) and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO).
CATS is a regional development cooperation program between the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany. The implementing agencies are the Environmental Health and Management Unit of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and the German Government’s Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ). The program will soon operate in eight CARICOM Member States from Guyana, Grenada, St. Vincent & Grenadines, St. Lucia, Dominica, St. Kitts & Nevis, Jamaica and Belize.