A Brief Guide to Regional MPA Projects in the Caribbean

MPA News

Several international, inter-related projects are underway in the Caribbean to strengthen the region's MPAs and MPA networks. Comprising a mix of established and new initiatives, the projects together represent a boom for Caribbean protected area efforts. Below, MPA News presents a brief guide to these initiatives:

"Training of Trainers": Teaching MPA managers

Educating MPA professionals on all aspects of planning and management, the fourth regional UNEP-Caribbean Environment Programme "Training of Trainers Course on MPA Management" was held in February 2004 in Long Key, Florida (US). Seventeen students attended from a dozen Spanish-speaking nations.

Designed to instruct managers who will in turn train their local personnel, the Training of Trainers (ToT) courses are held under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme-Caribbean Environment Programme (UNEP-CEP). The first ToT course, conducted in English, was in 1999; the second, in Spanish, was in 2000, followed by another English course in 2002.

The course features 14 days of lectures, interactive exercises, and field trips. All travel and lodging expenses are paid by UNEP-CEP and the United Nations Foundation through the International Coral Reef Action Network. The local follow-up sessions, in which trainees teach what they have learned to practitioners back in their communities, also receive partial financial support from UNEP-CEP.

The manual for the ToT course is available in English and Spanish, and is online at http://www.cep.unep.org/issues/MPA%20manual.htm. Georgina Bustamante of The Nature Conservancy, an international NGO, coordinated the 2004 and 2000 editions of the ToT course. She is updating the manual for the next class, scheduled for 2005 as funding becomes available.

SPAW: Regional, representative network of protected areas

In Gossier, Guadeloupe, in April 2004, regional experts met to review draft guidelines and criteria for the listing of protected areas under the Protocol on Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife in the Wider Caribbean (SPAW). The objective of this list is to create a representative network of protected areas to conserve natural heritage through regional cooperation. The list will eventually include marine reserves and other types of protected areas, including terrestrial ones. (Under SPAW, UNEP-CEP already offers a Small Grants Program to strengthen marine protected area management.)

The April workshop was organized by UNEP-CEP and the Regional Activity Centre for SPAW. Within the UNEP Regional Seas Programme, the Caribbean under UNEP-CEP is the second regional sea (after the Mediterranean) to initiate a regional representative MPA network.

The revised SPAW listing guidelines will be considered by the Third Conference of the Parties to the SPAW Protocol in September 2004 for further action. All working and meeting documents of the Guadeloupe workshop are online at http://www.cep.unep.org/who/spaw.htm. To learn more about SPAW in general, go to http://www.cep.unep.org/pubs/legislation/spaw.html.

CaMPAM: Networking MPA managers

Launched at the White Water to Blue Water Partnership Conference in Miami (US) in March 2004, the CaMPAM Network and Forum Partnership aims to network Caribbean MPA practitioners to exchange ideas and lessons learned. (CaMPAM stands for Caribbean Marine Protected Area Management.)

It is an overarching initiative, incorporating some of the above projects, including Training of Trainers and the UNEP/SPAW Small Grants Programme. Intended to develop synergy among existing efforts, CaMPAM involves UNEP-CEP, The Nature Conservancy, the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute, and an array of other international NGOs, national government agencies, and educational institutions.

The initiative will provide several tools to MPA managers, including:

  • An electronic discussion forum, now under development;
  • Site visits and staff exchanges among MPAs;
  • Technical assistance; and
  • A comprehensive database on MPAs and their effectiveness.

At a CaMPAM meeting within the upcoming annual meeting of the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute (8-12 November 2004 in St. Petersburg, Florida, US), the initiative's partners will present a prototype of the CaMPAM database and initiate a three-month pilot phase to evaluate and finalize its design and applications.

To learn more about CaMPAM, go to http://www.gcfi.org/Initiatives/CaMPAM.htm, or http://www.cep.unep.org/programmes/spaw/MPA/mpa.htm.

MAREP: Advancing marine reserves in the Caribbean

Released in September 2003, the Wider Caribbean Marine Reserves Regional Enhancement Plan, or MAREP, aims to mainstream the use of marine reserves as a tool in biodiversity conservation and fisheries management in the region. Spearheaded by the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas-Marine (WCPA-Marine), the MAREP identifies priority needs in fulfilling this goal, and proposes projects to help researchers, managers, and educators address those needs. It succeeds a similar plan for Southeast Asia, also led by WCPA-Marine (MPA News 5:2).

MAREP was developed through consultations among several national and international experts and institutions that included a review of existing regional initiatives and a request for proposals. The 16 approved projects - ranging from reserve design projects to public education to the CaMPAM partnership - have been submitted to potential donors for funding.

The 38-page MAREP plan provides an excellent overview of all MPA-related activities in the region. To download it in PDF format, or to learn more about the MAREP process, go to http://ipo.nos.noaa.gov/mri/caribbean.html.

For more information:

Georgina Bustamante, The Nature Conservancy, 2455 E Sunrise Blvd., Penthouse South, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304, USA. Tel: +1 954 564 6144; E-mail: gbustamante [at] tnc.org

Alessandra Vanzella-Khouri, UNEP-CEP, 14-20 Port Royal Street, Kingston, Jamaica. Tel: +1 876 922 9267; E-mail: avk.uneprcuja [at] cwjamaica.com

Bob Glazer (CaMPAM), Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute, c/o FMRI, 2796 Overseas Highway, Ste. 119, Marathon, FL 33050 USA. E-mail: bob.glazer [at] gcfi.org; Web: www.gcfi.org

Annie Hillary (WCPA-Marine), International Programs Office, National Ocean Service, NOAA, 1315 East-West Highway N/IP, Silver Spring, MD 20910, USA. Tel: +1 301 713 3078 x221; E-mail: annie.hillary [at] noaa.gov


BOX: MPA sessions at Caribbean conference this November

The upcoming meeting of the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute, to be held 8-12 November in St. Petersburg, Florida (US), will feature two special sessions on MPAs:

Ecological criteria for judging marine reserve performance: When is a coral reef ecosystem a "normative ecosystem"? (Co-hosted by the University of Puerto Rico and the [US] National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; for more information, e-mail ron.hill [at] noaa.gov or rich.appeldoorn [at] gcfi.org)

Caribbean spawning aggregations: Biology and management status (Co-hosted by The Nature Conservancy, The Ocean Conservancy, Environmental Defense, and the Society for the Conservation of Reef Fish Spawning Aggregations; for more information, e-mail pkramer [at] tnc.org)

Papers will be accepted on other MPA issues as well. Meeting and additional information is available at http://www.gcfi.org/Conferences/57th/StPete2004.htm.