Coastal and Marine Ecosystem

Coastal and marine ecosystems are among the most productive, yet threatened, ecosystems in the world; they include open ocean marine areas, nearshore coastal areas, areas where freshwater and saltwater mix, and certain terrestrial ecosystems such as sand dunes. Over a third of the worlds population live in coastal areas and are dependent on the various ecosystem services that marine and coastal ecosystems such as coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass beds provide.

Objectives of the SPAW subprogramme in support of conservation and sustainable use of coastal and marine ecosystems are:

  • To assist with the management of coastal and marine ecosystems of the region on a sustainable basis, particularly through sustainable practices; 
  • To mobilize the political will and actions of Governments and other partners for the conservation and sustainable use of coral reefs and associated ecosystems such as mangroves and seagrass beds;
  • To effectively communicate the value and importance of coral reefs, mangroves and sea grass beds,including their ecosystem services, the threats to their sustainability and the actions needed to protect them; and
  • To promote the ecosystem management approach and the principles and values of good governance for the conservation and management of marine ecosystems in the region.

Activities include:

Collaboration with UNDP and IOCARIBE, to support the GEF “Sustainable Management of the Shared Living Marine Resources of the Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem (CLME) and Adjacent Regions”, through coordination and implementation of its pilot project on Management and Conservation of Reef Biodiversity and Reef Fisheries:

  • The pilot project will focus on strengthening the management capacity of large and transboundary marine areas, primarily in: Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. It will also aim to mitigate existing environmental impacts (over-fishing, pollution and habitat degradation as identified by a preliminary Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA) and strengthen the assessment, management, and governance frameworks required to promote the ecological integrity of the reef and its ability to withstand environmental shocks and stresses. The pilot project will develop and foster networking and cooperation among the countries for management of marine resources, focusing on strengthening existing institutions, structures and mechanisms through sharing, collaboration and exchange. Large and remote reef systems in Jamaica (Pedro Bank) and Colombia (Seaflower MPA) will be included as major sites, as they represent highly productive areas subjected to significant fishing pressures. Lessons and experiences learnt in this process will be shared within the lifetime of the project to adjacent countries such as the Dominican Republic and Haiti. 

Continue supporting the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI)

  • Promote and support the celebrations for the International Year of the Reef (IYOR), in particular through strategized media efforts and dissemination of targeted information to decision-makers and planners, in collaboration with the CETA Programme of CEP;
  • As feasible, continue to support and/or coordinate with the five sub-regional Caribbean coral reef monitoring nodes for the Southern Tropical America (STA) (coordinated by INVEMAR in Colombia); Eastern Caribbean (coordinated by the CZM Centre in Barbados); Netherlands Antilles Coral Reef Initiative (NACRI); Western Caribbean (primarily coordinated by the MBRS Project); and Northern Caribbean and Atlantic (NCA) (coordinated by UWI-CMS), including support for onsite training, technical assistance and data management and to ensure data contributions from the region to the global ReefBase database and annual GCRMN reef status reports. This includes supportto their efforts on AGRRA, CARICOMP and ReefCheck, as feasible.
  • Support as feasible, training workshops in the region on coral reef “Crime Scene Investigation” (CSI), to provide countries with tools on marine (coral reefs) injury investigation, impact assessment, financial recovery for damages and courtroom preparation. At least 4 workshops are planned with US support for the Dominican Republic, Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago;
  • Support ongoing efforts by WRI on in-depth economic valuation of coral reefs in the Caribbean, possibly for the Dominican Republic and Jamaica. This will include capacity building at the in-country level, to a variety of stakeholders to conduct data collection and analysis, as well as to apply the information as appropriate, for relevant policy and decision-making;
  • Disseminate widely the lessons-learnt and best practices from the implementation of the ICRAN Caribbean activities during 2000-2004, in particular those involving demonstration sites;
  • Support as feasible, application of the recently developed “Ecosystem Services, A guide for Decision Makers” of WRI. This tool aims to help public sector decision-makes integrate ecosystem services in their decision-making process toward economic development, and responds to the findings of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. Currently, WRI is looking for opportunities to test this tool within development planning efforts;
  • Attend ICRI meetings as SPAW secretariat and promote and support as feasible, participation of governments and experts from the region in those meetings.

SPAW Protocol Documents

  • SPAW Protocol (text only)

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  • Final Act, Resolutions 1990

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  • Final Act, Resolution, Appendix and Species Annexes I, II, III 1991

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  • SPAW Factsheet

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  • SPAW Brochure

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  • SPAW Benefits Sheet

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  • Guildines for Marine Mammal Watching in the WCR
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  • Ratification Map

      Ratification Map