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Cartagena Convention, MAR sign pact

Agreement to enhance conservation, sustainable management of region’s coastal and marine resources

Friday, May 30, 2014    

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THE Secretariat to the Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region, or the Cartagena Convention, and the Mesoamerican Reef Fund (MAR Fund) recently signed a Memorandum of Cooperation to enhance the conservation and sustainable management of coastal and marine resources in areas of mutual interest within the Wider Caribbean Region.

"(The Cartagena Convention Secretariat and the MAR Fund) recognise the fundamental role played by coastal and marine resources in development to sustain natural and cultural diversity for ecosystem productivity and for the provision of goods and services to peoples, local communities, and the planet," said a release dispatched by the Regional Coordinating Unit of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Kingston.

Collaboration will also enable joint training support and improved exchange of information among the countries of the region, it added.

The first joint activity undertaken within the framework of the memorandum was a workshop on the control of lionfish in the MAR, which took place May 22 and 23 in Guatemala City.

Over the two days, national and regional experts from the MAR and the insular Caribbean learned about the strategy for lionfish in the Caribbean, which has been aimed at education and awareness, building capacity on the capture of lionfish and techniques to handle the species, as well as incentives and marketing to promote its consumption.

At the end of the workshop, there was a lionfish tasting activity and participants were provided with a lionfish recipe book.

The workshop was funded by the German Cooperation through KfW, UNEP, the Regional Activity Centre for the SPAW Protocol, MAR Fund, the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas of Mexico, Reef Check-Dominican Republic, and national authorities representing the environment, protected areas and fisheries sectors of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras.

The Cartagena Convention is the only legally binding agreement for the conservation and sustainable use of the coastal and marine resources of the Caribbean Sea. The Convention is supported by three technical protocols dealing with oil spills, specially protected areas and wildlife (SPAW), and pollution from land-based sources and activities (LBS). These legal instruments assist countries to ensure that environmental issues are considered in national development activities that may impact the Caribbean Sea.

The MAR Fund is a four-country alliance with the primary purpose being to support the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources in the Mesoamerican Reef eco-region. It operates as a privately managed fund that raises and allocates funding, while relying on the pre-existing technical, administrative, and financial capabilities, and know how of its founding members -- Protected Areas Conservation Trust in Belize, Fundación para la Conservación de los Recursos Naturales y Ambiente in Guatemala, Fundación Biosfera in Honduras, and Fondo Mexicano para la Conservación de la Naturaleza in Mexico -- to operate on the ground.

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