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. In this context, the main objectives of this programme element are to:

  1. Strengthen the management of protected areas of the WCR, including the establishment of networks of MPAs and supporting communication between protected areas, personnel and stakeholders within the region;
  2. Assist governments with the development of human capacity to increase the effectiveness of MPAs, both at individual sites and for national systems;
  3. 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
  4. Promote Protected Areas in the context of conserving important natural resources necessary for the sustainable development of the region. 

Marine Protected Areas Activities

Activities to strengthen MPAs 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:

  • Small Grants Programme to provide technical assistance and facilitate exchange of experiences and lessons learnt between MPA managers/practitioners and fisheries managers.
  • Enhancement of communications, sharing  and exchanges through the existing CaMPAM electronic list and forum to build capacities.
  • Training activities under  CaMPAM  Training of Trainers (ToT) programme on MPA management  in partnership with local and regional organizations, covering themes such as: promoting sustainable financing,  business planning and alternative livelihoods; evaluating and restoring coastal ecosystem services, particularly coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass 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 with funding received from the Italian Government, 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.

The two-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  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 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. 

CCI Fact Sheet


Download PDF file in English 

SPAW Protocol Documents

  • SPAW Protocol (text only)

  Download PDF file in English Download PDF file in SpanishDownload 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 Species Annexes I, II, III 1991

    Download PDF file in English

  • SPAW Factsheet

    Download PDF file in English Download PDF file in Spanishpdf-fr.png

  • 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

  • Guildines for Marine Mammal Watching in the WCR
    Download PDF file in English
  • Ratification Map

      Ratification Map