Greater Georgetown, Guyana- More than fifty delegates from around the Region are expected to be in Guyana for a Caribbean Community (CARICOM) workshop to continue the development of a CARICOM Biodiversity Strategy (CBS).

The Workshop will be held from 14-15 June 2018 at the Headquarters of the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana.

When completed, the Strategy will serve as the framework for support to CARICOM Member States, Cuba and the Dominican Republic to implement the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity’s Strategic Plan 2011-2020. The regional framework will complement national, regional, and international initiatives to protect and sustainably use the Caribbean’s natural resources.

The CBS is an output under the Caribbean Hub sub-component of Phase II of the Programme for Capacity-Building related to Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. The programme is supported by the European Union (EU) and UN Environment. The Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) is facilitating the development of the CBS for the CARICOM Secretariat.

The Guyana workshop hosts representatives from CARICOM Member States, regional and national Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), academia, international organisations and the private sector. Delegates are expected to review and add to previously articulated stakeholder priorities from national and regional consultations and online surveys. A key focus of the consultation process thus far, is the emphasis on CSO perspectives, to ensure that their voices are heard and their needs are met in the final strategy.

According to the Programme Manager of the CARICOM Secretariat, Ms. Amrikha Singh, conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity is essential for economic development, livelihoods and well-being for the people of the Caribbean. Mangroves, reefs and seagrass beds protect vulnerable coastlines from climate change and hurricanes. Forested watersheds are important for water supply. Agriculture relies on pollination of crops. Nature-based tourism drives economies.

Recognising this, she added, some of the emerging priorities for the CBS articulated by CSOs and others include: climate resilience, invasive species management, ecosystem restoration, and enabling structures, frameworks and investment for scaling up biodiversity-friendly livelihoods.

Assistant Secretary General of the CARICOM Secretariat, Dr Douglas Slater, expects that at the end of the Guyana workshop, participants will have refined regional priorities and drilled into the key issues to inform the content of the strategy.

Draft versions of the strategy coming out of this workshop will be made available widely for comments before finalisation.