New GEF US-dollarfunded initiative gets underway in Caribbean

New GEF US-dollarfunded initiative gets underway in Caribbean

Project aimed at strengthening the blue economies of the region

Friday, March 06, 2020

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A new US$46 million initiative to promote blue economic priorities, in support of the sustainable use and conservation of the region's vast and diverse marine ecosystems and resources, gets underway in the Caribbean.

The project which is an initiative of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) in partnership with the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) is a four-year project funded by the GEF with a grant of US$6.2 million and co-financing of US$40.1 million.

The Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) will be the lead implementing agency while the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) will be a co-implementing agency and the CRFM will be the project executing agency.

“The GEF-funded 'BE-CLME+ Project' will promote blue economy development in the Caribbean region through marine spatial planning and marine protected areas, the ecosystem approach to fisheries, and development of sustainable fisheries value chains,” a release informed.

“The expected results of the project include focused climate-smart investments into national and regional marine spatial planning (MSP) efforts that inform development and implementation of national blue economy strategies,” the release stated.

The multi-country project they say will focus on extending/ strengthening marine protected areas to preserve marine ecosystems and ensure sustainable livelihoods to coastal and fishery communities. The project is also expected to result in the establishment of a regional MSP for ecosystem-based fisheries, inclusive of sustainable fisheries value chains, and new or expanded marine protected areas in at least five Caribbean countries.

The inception workshop, to be held on March 5-6, will be attended by representatives of the six participating countries: Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, Panama, and St Lucia, as well as partner agencies, including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Development Bank of Latin America, UWI-Centre for Resource Managment and Environmental Studies, and Japan International cooperation Agency (JICA).

“Marine ecosystems account for over 80 per cent of Caricom States and territories, supporting not just fisheries, but also tourism, ocean transportation, energy, and other economic pillars. Despite threats that confront the region—not the least of which are climate change, ocean acidification, marine pollution, and irresponsible fishing—the Blue Economy model still holds great promise,” the release noted.

— Kellaray Miles

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