Photo: TripAdvisor. Bathway Bay in Grenada is protected from the Atlantic Ocean waves by an offshore coral reef.

CASTRIES, St. Lucia–November 3rd, 2020–The ongoing third round of National Consultations under the (CROP) will continue in Saint Lucia on Nov. 3 and 4.

CROP is currently being implemented by the OECS Commission on behalf of five of its member states: Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The project seeks to strengthen Ocean Governance as well as Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning and develop a Regional Marine Spatial Planning Framework for the wider OECS region.

In this round of consultation policy makers and key stakeholders in the maritime sector will be engaged to review and refine the draft coastal and marine spatial plans that were devised in the first two rounds of consultations among the five countries.

Project Manager, Susana Scott spoke on the importance of the consultative stage in developing the Coastal Master Plans and Marine Spatial Plans for Member States.

“The first and second round of consultations helped to collate information to design the plans and now that we have these drafts, they will be taken again to stakeholders to be able to refine the products. After that, we will have regional validation meetings to validate that these are the documents that will be carried forward.”

The consultations which are being held virtually are being facilitated by Dillon Consulting Ltd., the consulting firm spearheading the Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning component of the Caribbean Regional Oceanscape Project.

Ruth Blyther is the Director of The Nature Conservancy’s Eastern Caribbean Program based in the US Virgin Islands. In this video Ruth shares her perspective of the importance of striving to understand others’ needs in order to achieve conservation wins. This video is featured on the CROP Web site.

St. Kitts & Nevis was the first of the five countries to hold its third round of national consultations, October 27-29th; Saint Lucia will follow this week; Grenada and St. Vincent & The Grenadines’ consultations are scheduled for November 17-19 and Dominica’s is scheduled for November 24 -26.

Ocean resources in the Caribbean have the potential to make a much greater contribution to poverty reduction and shared prosperity for the region’s growing population of 40 million, and to increase their resilience to climate change.

However, the natural systems underpinning the health of the Caribbean Sea are changing at an alarming rate and scale, largely due to human action occurring in the context of weak institutions. The Caribbean region has been at the forefront of a movement towards a blue economy. The region is home to a growing number of developing states that share the Caribbean Sea and have embraced the concept as the centerpiece of future growth strategies.

Within the region, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission has established an Ocean Governance and Fisheries Program with a mandate to support articulation of clear policy frameworks for governance of the many economic activities dependent on the Caribbean Sea and to promote greater consideration of the ecosystem functions and services which the ocean provides for member states. Further, the OECS Heads of Government endorsed the Eastern Caribbean Regional Ocean Policy (ECROP) in 2013.