Capacity building workshop focuses on better management of coral reef, ecosystems and coastal resources

Workshop was organized within the framework of the Protocol concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW)

The third GCRMN-Caribbean Guidelines Capacity Building Workshop took place in Saint Martin, French West Indies, from 28th May to 1st June 2018. The workshop was organized within the framework of the Protocol concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW) to the Cartagena Convention with the support of the Regional Activity Centre for this Protocol (SPAW-RAC), based in Guadeloupe, and in partnership with the Réserve Naturelle de Saint Martin. Partial sponsorship was generously provided by The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), USA.

This workshop is part of the regional effort of GCRMN-Caribbean to promote harmonized data collection and analysis to ensure the collection of useful, comparable, reliable and accessible data within the Caribbean.

The event gathered 13 participants from Saint Martin, Sint Maarten, Saba, Saint Barthélemy, and Sint Eustatius. Participants were scientists, marine park managers and practitioners, rangers and marine park education/outreach officers. Participants represented the Réserve Naturelle de Saint Martin, the Nature Foundation Sint Maarten, the Saba Conservation Foundation, the Caribbean Netherlands Science Institute, the Sint Eustatius National Parks Foundation as well as the Environmental Territorial Agency of Saint Barthélemy.

Similar to the previous trainings (2016 and 2017), this workshop was divided into two components: the biophysical component, which focused on the biological current and future trends of coral reef monitoring; and the socio-economic component, which aimed to encourage participants to use socio-economic monitoring for coastal management. Both components follow the purpose of better managing coral reef and ecosystems and coastal resources.

The participants of the biophysical component were trained in collecting data during three dive sessions (one dive at Ilet Pinel, and two dives at Rocher Créole), and at processing and analyzing the data. Participants of the socio-economic component were introduced to socio-economic monitoring using the Socio-economic for Coastal Management (SocMon) method and drafted site monitoring plans for a selected site in their territories.

Each of the five territories represented at the workshop had at least one participant in each of the two components of the workshop. Following the workshop, participants will implement an integrated biophysical and socio-economic coral reef monitoring site assessment in one protected area of each of the five territories applying the knowledge, tools and techniques learned in both workshop components.

It is worth noting that the site assessment activities that will be undertaken in the territories, especially in Saint Martin, Sint Maarten, and Saint Barthélémy, are all the more relevant in a changing environment, and especially in areas affected by the previous hurricanes of Irma and Maria, which damaged the islands in September 2017.