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Overview of the SPAW Protocol

 

The Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment in theWider Caribbean Region (WCR) is the only legally binding regional environmental treaty for the Region. The convention, referred to as the Cartagena Convention, presently has 25 (out of 28 possible) States that are Contracting Parties. The Convention and its Protocols constitute a legal commitment by these countries to protect, and mange their common coastal and marine resources individually, jointly, and in a sustainable manner. The Cartagena Convention and its Protocols enhance not only protection but also development, as specifically noted in its provisions.

Adopted in Kingston, Jamaica by the member governments of the Caribbean Environment Programme (CEP) on 18 January 1990, the SPAW Protocol preceded other international environmental agreements in utilising an ecosystem approach to conservation. The Protocol acts as a vehicle to assist with regional implementation of the broader and more demanding global Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

The objective of the Protocol is to protect rare and fragile ecosystems and habitats, thereby protecting the endangered and threatened species residing therein. The Caribbean Regional Co-ordinating Unit (CAR/RCU) pursues this objective by assisting with the establishment and proper management of Protected Areas (PAs), by promoting sustainable management (and use) of species to prevent their endangerment and by providing assistance to the governments of the region in conserving their coastal ecosystems. The SPAW Protocol achieves these objectives primarily through the four mutually supporting programme elements.

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The SPAW Sub-Programme of the Caribbean Environment Programme is the operational entity within the CAR/RCU responsible for co-ordinating activities in support of the SPAW Protocol. The SPAW Sub-Programme supports countries in meeting objectives of global conventions and initiatives such as the CBD, the Ramsar, CMS, and CITES conventions, as well as the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI).

Signatories to the SPAW Protocol

The Protocol was signed on 18 January 1990 by the following Contracting Parties to the Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Republic of Columbia
  • Republic of Cuba
  • Republic of France
  • Republic of Guatemala
  • Jamaica
  • United Mexican States
  • Kingdom of the Netherlands
  • Saint Lucia
  • Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • United States of America
  • Republic of Venezuela

 

For current information on countries that have signed/ratified the SPAW Protocol please visit this table.

For information on how to ratify/accede the Protocol see Ratification.

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SPAW Protocol Documents

 
  • SPAW Protocol (text only)
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  • Final Act, Resolutions 1990
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  • Final Act, Resolution, Appendix, and Annex 1991
    Download PDF file in English
  • SPAW Factsheet
    Download PDF file in English  Download PDF file in Spanish  Download PDF file in French
  • SPAW Brochure
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  • SPAW Benefits Sheet
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  • Ratification Map
      Ratification Map