SPAW - Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife

The Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW Protocol) was adopted in 1990, and entered into force in 2000. The SPAW Protocol seeks to "Take the necessary measures to protect, preserve and manage in a sustainable way; 

  1. areas that require protection to safeguard their special value, and
  3. threatened or endangered species of flora and fauna."


The objectives of the SPAW Sub-Programme are to assist Governments in meeting the provisions of the Protocol and to:

  1. Significantly increase the number, and improve the management of, protected and/or managed areas in the Wider Caribbean Region (WCR), including support to national and regional conservation management strategies and plans.
  3. Support the conservation of threatened and endangered species and sustainable use of natural resources to prevent them from becoming threatened or endangered;
  5. Develop strong regional capability for information exchange, training and assistance, in support of national biodiversity conservation efforts; Coordinate activities, and develop synergies, with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), as well as other biodiversity-related treaties and initiatives, such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora(CITES), the Convention on Wetlands/Ramsar Convention, the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS)/Bonn Convention, the Western Hemisphere Conventions, the Interamerican Convention for the Conservation of Sea Turtles (IAC), the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) and the Western Hemisphere Migratory Species Initiative (WHMSI).


In pursuit of the objectives listed above, the SPAW Sub-Programme's major achievements between 2010-2013 include:

  • Three(3) additional Governments joined the SPAW Protocol between 2010-2012 (Guyana, Grenada and The Bahamas) bringing the total to sixteen (16) Contracting Parties.
  • Listing of 18 Protected Areas of the Wider Caribbean under the SPAW protocol towards the development of a cooperation programme under Article 7 of SPAW.
  • Enhanced  governance approaches at Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystems pilot sites: 
    • Seaflower Biosphere Reserve, San Andres Archipelago, Colombia;
    • Pedro Bank, Jamaica; and 
    • Trans-boundary site of Montecristi National Park, Dominican Republic and the neighbouring Caracol Bay, Haiti.

These resulted in continued building of Marine Protected Areas best practices for improved management planning, including enhancement and implementation of management plans and community consultations and sensitizations. Strengthened MPAs under the Caribbean Challenge Project funded by the Directorate General for Development Cooperation of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (US $ 1.15 Million) and executed through SPAW's Caribbean Marine Protected Areas Management Network and Forum (CaMPAM) in collaboration with the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute,  The Nature Conservancy and other organizations.  

Activities included: 

-extensive training and capacity building on MPA management,  enforcement and networking;

-technical assistance for MPA zoning,  plans and equipment;

-MPA staff exchanges; and

-production MPA best-practices compilation. 

  • Enhanced marine spatial planning and scenario building for trans-boundary management of marine mammals corridors through the Government of Spain/UNEP LifeWeb Project.
  • Expansion of Caribbean Marine Protected Areas Management Network and Forum (CaMPAM) is the regional MPA management and capacity building network with important progress being made on improving its training programme and the regional MPA database.
  • Production of the "Invasive Lionfish: A Guide to Control and Management"; manual in English and Spanish, a tool for managers in assisting with the control of the lionfish invasion and its impacts by providing practical solutions and recommendations.


For more information on the current activities of the SPAW Programme please go to the detailed Workplan and Budget of the Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW) Subprogramme for the 2013-2014 Biennium:

SPAW Workplan and Budget for the 2013-2014 Biennium:


SPAW Workplan Summary for the 2013-2014 Biennium:


Overview of the Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife Protocol  


There are four programme elements implemented to achieve the SPAW objectives:


Strengthening and Management of Protected Areas in the Wider Caribbean Region


Development of Guidelines for the Management of Protected Areas and Species


Conservation of Threatened and Endangered Species


Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine and Coastal Ecosystems



SPAW Publications:

The biannual publication of the Workplan and Budget of the SPAW Regional Programme


Reports on SPAW meetings

SPAW newsletters and other publications


SPAW Protocol Documents

    • SPAW Protocol (text only)
      Download PDF file in English Download PDF file in Spanish Download PDF file in French

  • Final Act, Resolutions 1990
    Download PDF file in English Download PDF file in Spanish Download PDF file in French
  • 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
    pdf-en.png pdf-es.png pdf-fr.png
  • SPAW Benefits Sheet
    Download PDF file in English Download PDF file in SpanishDownload PDF file in French
  • Ratification Map
      Ratification Map