Strengthening and Management of Protected Areas in the Wider Caribbean Region

The establishment and management of Protected Areas are addressed by Articles 4 to 9 of the SPAW Protocol.

The main objectives of this programme element are to:

  1. Strengthen the management of protected and/or managed areas of the WCR, including the establishment of networks of MPAs and/or MMA’s and supporting communication between protected areas, personnel and stakeholders within the region;
  3. Assist governments with the development of human capacity to increase the effectiveness of these areas, both at individual sites and for national systems;
  5. Sensitize governments about the need and importance of financing protected areas, and to promote the development of funding mechanisms and strategies for successful protected area management; and
  7. Promote or manage protected areas in the context of conserving important natural resources necessary for the sustainable development of the region.

Marine Protected Areas/Marine Managed Areas Activities

Activities to strengthen these areas are implemented primarily through the Caribbean Marine Protected Areas Management Network and Forum (CaMPAM) created in 1997 by UNEP-CEP to assist countries with MPA management issues through:

  • A Small Grants Programme to facilitate exchange of experiences and lessons learnt between MPA managers/practitioners and fisheries managers.
  • Enhancement of communications and exchanges through the existing electronic list and forum to build capacities.
  • Training activities under the Training of Trainers (ToT) programme on MPA management in partnership with local and regional organizations, covering themes such as:
    • planning and management tools;
    • sustainable financing, business planning and alternative livelihoods;
    • evaluating and restoring coastal ecosystem services,  particularly coral reefs, mangroves, sea grass beds;
    • development of effective communication tools;
    • training on effective enforcement practices;
    • involvement of community stakeholders in MPA management;
    • providing opportunities for mentoring with more experienced  MPAs; and
    • development of proposals to address specific and targeted MPA needs.
  • Enhancement of the regional MPA database.  This regional web-based database includes 77 fields and serves as a repository  for standardized MPA information and as a resource for producing regional analysis and reports on MPAs.

A more recent development within SPAW, to enhance MPA activities, is its support to the Caribbean Challenge Initiative (CCI), which seeks to promote the efficient management of MPAs.  It is a large-scale initiative which aims to, inter alia; protect 20% of the  marine and coastal habitats of Caribbean countries associated with the initiative by 2020. 

Appendix D

This three-year SPAW project entitled Regional support for the  Caribbean Challenge Initiative: Networking, consolidation and regional coordination of MPA management and funded by the Directorate General for Development Cooperation of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs concluded in June of 2013. 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. In total this program led to more than a 50,000 sq/km of designated MPAs, fifteen MPA management plans under development or enhanced and more than 300 MPA managers and stakeholders trained across eight Caribbean Challenge countries.

Plans for the 2015-2016 Biennium:

In partnership with IUCN-BIOPAMA and local partners, a 6-10 day regional course for MPA practitioners will be held in 2015.  Given the evolution of the ToT Programme during the last fifteen (15) years of implementation, the large number of MPA practitioners (> 1,200) who have already benefited from this training programme and emerging needs and issues on MPA the planned course will emphasize:

- promoting sustainable financing, business planning and alternative livelihoods;

- evaluating and restoring coastal ecosystem services (fisheries, shore protection, tourism);

- the development of effective communication tools;

- training on effective enforcement practices; and

- the involvement of community stakeholders in the management of the Park. 

  • Ongoing implementation of the Small and Medium Grants Programme to address specific MPA needs.

CaMPAM in coordination with TNC under the ECMMAN project will continue to provide funding for MPAs in SPAW Parties to enhance MPA effectiveness, following the successful round of grants disbursed in the biennium 2014-2015.

New Project: Biodiversity for Sustainable Development in the Caribbean through Ecosystem Based Management

A major project recently approved under this SPAW subprogramme titled “Biodiversity for Sustainable Development in the Caribbeanthrough Ecosystem Based Management” was signed in late 2014 with funding (Euros 1,350,000/ USD $1,836,739 for 3 years) from the Directorate for the Environment within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy.  The project builds upon the outcomes of the project implemented during 2011-2013 in support of the Caribbean Challenge with funds from the same donor.  The project will include a series of pilot projects in selected protected areas of SPAW Parties. Its overall objective is “the successful application of Ecosystem Based Management (EBM) approaches and tools as a contribution to the conservation and sustainable management of coastal and marine resources with the aim of enhancing the livelihood of the populations of the Wider Caribbean Region (WCR).”.

EBM Factsheets: pdf-en.png/image_previewpdf-es.png/image_preview

As a general reminder, for listing of protected areas under the SPAW Protocol as per Article 7 with the
support of SPAW-RAC, Parties can nominate their protected areas to be nominated in the list
towards the development of a cooperation programme and network. For more on the
listing process, criteria and meetings to date visit here.

CCI Fact Sheet


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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

      Ratification Map