The regional implementing partners German Development Cooperation (GIZ) and the MPAConnect network are collaborating to promote investment in Caribbean marine conservation through capacity building for the mobilization of resources from conservation trust funds.
The Caribbean marine environment faces ever-increasing pressures and a new set of emerging issues. As governments and civil societies across the region work towards sustainable development. The key is to finance and implement effective marine management strategies.
The coordinator Coordinator of the MPAConnect Network, Ms. Emma Doyle said “Marine protected areas (MPAs) in particular are an important tool in marine conservation, supporting fisheries management and tourism in the region. Yet Caribbean MPA managers tell us that raising reliable, long-term financing for their operations is their most pressing management need.
There are various mechanisms through which marine conservation can be financed. Some of them are well known understood : entrance fees for marine parks or immigration fees at airports and ports, philanthropic donations or concessions for on-site businesses. Other financing mechanisms are newer and more innovative, but also more complex to understand and to access, such as trust funds, debt-for-nature swaps and impact investment.
Ms. Doyle added “A meaningful MPA sustainable financing plan requires a mix of several financing mechanisms. One of the mechanisms in this mix, and one that is highly anticipated by MPA managers, is the conservation trust fund,” explains Ms. Doyle.
The training on conservation trust funds has greatly increased in the Caribbean region and these legally independent institutions are expected to play a growing role in marine conservation financing in the coming years, especially in support of nature-based solutions to climate change and as the blue economy grows. In the Eastern Caribbean, a series of National Conservation Trust Funds is being established through the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund. German Development Corporation (GIZ) and the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) are assisting in marrying the National Conservation Trust Funds with capacity building for MPA management and operations through the Sustainable Marine Finance Project.
Dr. Volker Hamann, Head of Programme for the Sustainable Marine Finance Project from G.I.Z. highlighted:
“To make the most of the financing that can be applied by trust funds to meet the needs of marine managers, we’re examining with MPAConnect where the conservation trust funds might fit in the sustainable financing plans of MPAs, and how the investments made by conservation trust funds can best be aligned with the needs of marine managers. Therefore, we are developing regional voluntary guidelines to shed light for MPA managers, government, the private sector and other actors on what they should know about improving their operations, so they can effectively access and manage sustainable marine conservation financing opportunities. These improvements will assist in enhancing the capacities of the MPAs, as well as the livelihood opportunities available in the communities within which they operate, and also maximize the effectiveness of marine conservation efforts,”
Four OECS Member States, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada will be the principal focus of this work. The perspective of the wider OECS will also be considered within the ongoing work and at a later stage the scope will include other CARICOM states.
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