Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine and Coastal Ecosystems

Ecosystem-Based Management

Caribbean marine and coastal ecosystems, which include coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass beds, are threatened by a number of factors including unsustainable development and fishing practices. One of the most holistic approaches to protecting marine and coastal ecosystems is Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM) which recognizes the need to protect entire ecosystems instead of individual species.

The main objectives of this SPAW programme element are to:

  • Assist with the management of marine and coastal ecosystems of the region on a sustainable basis, particularly through sustainable practices;
  • Mobilize the political will and action of governments and other partners for the conservation and sustainable use of coral reefs and associated ecosystems such as mangroves and seagrass beds;
  • Effectively communicate the value and importance of coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass beds, including their ecosystem services, the threats to their sustainability, and the actions needed to protect them; and
  • Promote the ecosystem management approach and the principles and values of good governance for the conservation and management of marine ecosystems in the region.

Proposed activities to be implemented during the 2017-2018 biennium will continue to focus on Coral reef ecosystems, the CLME+ project, and activities  in support and aligned with ICRI's Action Plan, especially regarding the coral reef monitoring network (GCRMN), climate change and coral reefs, and ICRI's "Call for Action".

Credit: Claire Fackler, NOAA -

These will include:

Special note - The U.S. Coral Reef Task Force released a Coral Reef Mitigation Handbook as a new tool to assist coral reef and coastal resource managers in understanding, avoiding and minimizing impacts to coral reefs, and identifying potential options to compensate for unavoidable coral reef impacts.

  • Continued collaboration between AMEP and SPAW sub-programmes and with partners in the implementation of the CLME+ project via development of a “Regional Strategy and Action Plan for the valuation, protection and/or restoration of key marine habitats in the CLME+”; and implementation of pilot projects demonstrating the transition to an EBM approach at the sub-regional/site level in the CLME+.
  • EBM wider application - through the “Biodiversity for Sustainable Development in the Caribbean” project and in collaboration with UN Environment’s Ecosystems Management Division, a regional EBM capacity-building workshop will be organized in 2017. The EBM demonstration projects emanating from the workshop will build from the lessons-learnt from the DSS activity in the Dominican Republic and consider other ongoing projects of CEP or partners in an effort to build synergies and maximise resources and results.
  • Implementation of the BEST Initiative (SPAW-RAC Project) which aims to support conservation of biodiversity and sustainable use of ecosystems services in Overseas Countries and Territories of the European Union.

CLME Fact Sheets


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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 Species Annexes I, II, III 1991

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  • SPAW Factsheet

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  • SPAW Brochure

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  • SPAW Benefits Sheet

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  • Guildines for Marine Mammal Watching in the WCR
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  • Ratification Map

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