Ten Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS) gear up to tackle declining land and water resources with the support of GEF IWEco

Havana, Cuba | 26 February - 1 March, 2018

The Second Regional Project Steering Committee Meeting (RPSC 2) of the Global Environment Facility-funded Integrating Water, Land and Ecosystems Management in Caribbean Small Island Developing States (GEF IWEco) Project will take place in Havana, Cuba from 26th February to 1st March 2018.  

It will be convened by the United Nations Environment Programme’s Caribbean Regional Seas Programme (UN Environment-CEP)/Secretariat for the Cartagena Convention, the lead co-executing agency for the project.

The ten countries participating in the project - Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, and Trinidad & Tobago, as well as national, regional and international partners will be represented.

IWEco is a five-year, regional project that builds upon the work of previous initiatives, to address water, land and biodiversity resource management as well as climate change.  Caribbean SIDS face many challenges.  Small landmasses, vulnerable economies, heavy dependence on external energy resources, and rising populations mean that greater efforts must be made if sustainable development is to become a reality. 

There is widespread acknowledgement that if the state of Caribbean ecosystems, land and water resources, biodiversity are to improve, more cooperation, partnership and integrated approaches are needed. 

As land degradation and water pollution increase and biodiversity continues to decline in Caribbean SIDS, vulnerability to the effects of climate change will increase.   Last year’s Hurricanes Irma and Maria wreaked havoc in several islands, emphasising the need for a strong natural resource base to protect and make communities and ecosystems more resilient to the impacts of climate change which are expected to become even more severe in the future. 

IWEco’s objective is to contribute to the preservation of Caribbean ecosystems that are of global significance and to the sustainability of livelihoods. This will be done through the application of existing proven technologies and approaches best suited for small island developing states.  The project will improve the management of fresh and coastal water resources, land resources and forests. 

Since the Project’s Inception Workshop and First Regional Project Steering Committee Meeting in September 2016, eight of the participating countries have been working to develop their national projects.  At the regional level, partnerships will be formalized in five areas:  Governance; Public Awareness/Education; Research; Private Sector, and; Resource Mobilization.  These make a wide range of resources and expertise available to participating countries both during and beyond the project and help the region build capacity.

Participants in the RPSC 2 will:

  • Review Project objectives
  • Provide and receive updates on the status of national projects and regional support initiatives
  • Consider and approve the proposed draft work plan and budget for the year 2018 and
  • Identify opportunities for collaboration with other regional programmes, projects and activities.

The Project has four components:

  • Development and Implementation of Integrated Targeted Innovative, climate-change resilient approaches in sustainable land management (SLM), integrated water resources management (IWRM) and maintenance of ecosystem services;
  • Strengthening of the land, water resources and ecosystems monitoring, and Indicators framework;
  • Strengthening of the Policy, legislative and institutional reforms and capacity building for land, water resources and ecosystem services management taking into consideration climate change resilience building, and
  • Enhancing knowledge exchange, best practices, replication and stakeholder involvement.

UN Environment is the lead Implementing Agency for national and regional sub-projects and the United Nations Development Programme is the co-implementing agency with responsibility for community-based livelihoods opportunities through the GEF-Small Grants Programme.  The other co-executing agency will be the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).  Several national and regional institutions as well as the private sector will be involved in this regional programme.

The meeting documents are available here.

This media release can be downloaded here.