Caribbean to benefit from UWI and IUCN partnership for people and biodiversity
The University of the West Indies (The UWI) and the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Regional Office for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, have renewed a five-year collaboration which supports Caribbean countries to better manage and utilise important sea and land resources for the benefit of those who depend on them, ultimately contributing to the long term conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. This collaboration was formalised during a signing ceremony in Kingston, Jamaica on March 6, 2018.
The work is being implemented with support from the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the European Union through the Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management (BIOPAMA) Programme. In the Caribbean this programme is coordinated by the IUCN Regional Office for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, in collaboration with the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (JRC) and hosted by The UWI. It provides the tools for data and information management, services for improving the knowledge and capacity for protected area planning and decision making, and funding opportunities for specific site-based actions.
The UWI’s involvement with BIOPAMA was initially through the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES), a department within the Faculty of Science and Technology at the University’s Cave Hill Campus in Barbados. Under BIOPAMA, a series of interlinked, but regionally centred, Observatories for Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management were established in each ACP region, with the Caribbean Observatory being launched in September 2015 at CERMES. This resource hub, called the Caribbean Protected Areas Gateway, facilitates and promotes effective decision-making and sustainable resource management for protected areas and biodiversity. One of the first steps taken in implementing the Caribbean Gateway was the establishment of a Caribbean Regional Reference Information System (RRIS). This online platform will be used to facilitate the management of data and information and to create a single interactive web-portal that will allow access to region-wide information on marine and terrestrial ecosystems, species and habitats, ecosystem services, pressures and threats, management and governance.
Through this partnership, The UWI is renewing its commitment to improving the long-term conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and natural resources in the Caribbean.
Speaking at the signing ceremony for the renewed collaboration, Professor Dale Webber, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Graduate Studies and Research at The UWI said, “The BIOPAMA Programme offers great potential for our region in the form of technical and financial assistance to build capacity in our citizens who have oversight and management for the protected areas across our lands and shared sea spaces.”
Pro Vice-Chancellor Webber added, “The UWI has a long and deep history of research and work in the areas of conservation, resiliency and participatory governance in the marine and terrestrial protected areas space and we are enthusiastic about supporting a programme that shares our similar goals and ambitions in this area. In fact, two of The UWI’s research clusters: Governance of the Caribbean Sea and Biodiversity and Environmental Protection will benefit from the activities in BIOPAMA 2.”
Also speaking at the signing event, Ms. Viviana Sanchez, acting IUCN Regional Director for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean stated, “We are pleased to be working closely with The UWI to improve the quality of data for protected areas in the Caribbean region not only for information purposes, but also to support decision-making in the related sectors. This is very important for the effective management and good governance of protected areas, as well as to ensure sustainability of biodiversity and natural resources.”
Photo caption: Left to right Professor Dale Webber, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Graduate Studies and Research at The UWI, Ms. Viviana Sanchez, acting IUCN Regional Director for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, Mr. Edmund Jackson, Environment and Climate Change Programme Officer Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States; Mr. Stefano Cilli, Attaché/Programme Manager – Rural Development and Environment, Delegation of the European Union to Jamaica.
Photo credit: BIOPAMA