The Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW Protocol) was adopted in 1990, and entered into force in 2000. The SPAW Protocol seeks to "Take the necessary measures to protect, preserve and manage in a sustainable way:
- areas that require protection to safeguard their special value, and
- threatened or endangered species of flora and fauna."
The objectives of the SPAW Sub-Programme are to assist Governments in meeting the provisions of the Protocol and to:
- Significantly increase the number, and improve the management of, protected and/or managed areas in the Wider Caribbean Region (WCR), including support to national and regional conservation management strategies and plans.
- Support the conservation of threatened and endangered species and sustainable use of natural resources to prevent them from becoming threatened or endangered.
- Develop strong regional capability for information exchange, training and assistance, in support of national biodiversity conservation efforts; Coordinate activities, and develop synergies, with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), as well as other biodiversity-related treaties and initiatives, such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora(CITES), the Convention on Wetlands/Ramsar Convention, the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS)/Bonn Convention, the Western Hemisphere Conventions, the Interamerican Convention for the Conservation of Sea Turtles (IAC), the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) and the Western Hemisphere Migratory Species Initiative (WHMSI).
SPAW Workplan and Budget for the 2015-2016 Biennium:
In pursuit of the objectives listed above, the SPAW Sub-Programme's major achievements between 2013-2014 included:
- The launch of the Mentorship Programme completed during 2014. Three mentorship agreements and capacity building activities were successfully concluded between Mentors of at least three (3) SPAW-listed MPA sites (Bonaire Marine Park, La Caleta, Dominican Republic; Hol Chan, Belize) with mentees from MPAs in 3 SPAW Parties (Barbados, Cuba and Belize).
- The launch of the cooperation programme providing small grants of US$12,000 to support needs within listed PAs, as well as to assist with additional nominations for Parties which expressed commitment to submit proposals. Five grants were awarded in November 2013 and completed to date
- The development of a dedicated database and on-line tool in order to house data and generate statistics for Protected Areas listed under the SPAW Protocol.
An additional 13 sites have been listed bringing the total to 31 PA’s from the Wider Caribbean Region listed by Parties.
NB: Some of the list of benefits for sites listed under SPAW includes:
Increased recognition and awareness as a place of importance locally, regionally and globally
Local and national pride resulting in national responsibility to support management
Higher visibility resulting in possible increases in employment opportunities and income (e.g. tourism, “marketing” the area)
More likely to benefit from SPAW grants and other types of assistance (sites become priorities for SPAW Secretariat)
Opportunities for enhancing capacity, management, protection and sustainability
Opportunities for support under other areas of SPAW and CEP (species conservation, pollution control, EBM.
- A Memorandum of Cooperation completed in 2014 with the Mesoamerican Reef Fund (MAR Fund) for implementation of greater collaboration and coordination on sustainable management and conservation of coastal and marine resources within the Mesoamerica reef.
- The LifeWeb project “Broad-scale Marine Spatial Planning of Marine Mammal Corridors and Protected Areas in the Wider Caribbean and Southeast and Northeast Pacific” which focused on marine mammals was implemented between October 2010 and May 2014. It was funded by the Government of Spain and aimed to contribute to efforts on the establishment of comprehensive, effectively managed, and ecologically representative regional systems of marine protected areas by 2012 for the conservation of marine mammals in countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, through the application of an Ecosystem Based Management (EBM) approach and spatial planning.
- A Regional Strategy for the Control and Mitigation of the Invasive Lionfish in the Wider Caribbean Region finalized and adopted in collaboration with CAB International (CABI), the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), the Governments of Mexico, France, the U.S.A. and other interested partners.
- The conclusion of the project “Regional Support for the Caribbean Challenge Initiative: Networking, consolidation and regional coordination of MPA management” in June 2013. The project, funded by the Directorate General for Development Cooperation of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (USD 1.25 Million), supported the overarching Caribbean Challenge Initiative which aims to protect 20% of marine and coastal habitats in 8 Caribbean countries (the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda and St. Kitts and Nevis) by 2020. The UNEP-CEP managed project supported the MPA’s towards building a biologically-representative, functional network of marine protected areas, capable of adapting to climate change in coherence with the objectives of the SPAW Protocol and the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA) Initiative.
- To promote effective marine managed areas in the Insular Caribbean and associated countries, the project “Climate Resilient Eastern Caribbean Marine Managed Areas Network (ECMMAN)”, was conceived and led by The Nature Conservancy with funding from the Government of Germany, and also coordinated by SPAW through CaMPAM commencing in 2014. The project aims at strengthening the existing Marine Managed Areas of six Eastern Caribbean countries (Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada) via the provision of financial resources and technical expertise in the form of small grants.
- In keeping with the SPAW Protocol and the activities discussed at the SPAW COP 7 the pilot project “Management and Conservation of Reef Biodiversity and Reef Fisheries” was implemented as part of the GEF “Sustainable Management of the Shared Living Marine Resources of the Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem (CLME) and Adjacent Regions”.
The project, which began in 2010, came to an end in July 2013, whereby four pilot sites were selected in Colombia, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Haiti to test the implementation of the management approaches. It is expected that lessons learnt and best practices would then be upscaled and included in the Strategic Action Programme (SAP) for replication in other coastal communities within the future CLME+ Project to be implemented at a later date.
- Assisting the Convention on Biological Diversity with describing ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSA).
For more information on the past activities of the SPAW Programme, please see below:-