Experts met in Jamaica to discuss State of Marine Environment Report

15-17 August, 2016

Update (8/22/2016): Picture from this event can be accessed here.

Meeting Documents accessed here.

The United Nations Environment Programme, Caribbean Environment Programme (UNEP CEP) is hosting a meeting of national, regional and international Experts for discussions that will lead to the development of the region’s first State of Marine Environment Report for the Caribbean Sea. Over 30 experts from Governments, Research Institutions and Specialized Agencies will meet in Kingston, Jamaica from 15-17 August, 2016 to share their experiences, challenges and lessons learned from developing similar assessment reports. 

According to Mr. Christopher Corbin, UNEP’s Programme Officer with responsibility for the Pollution sub programme at the Jamaica-based Secretariat, “This meeting marks a significant advancement of efforts to assess the sources and impacts of pollution on the Caribbean Sea.” He further acknowledged the financial support of two regional projects funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF IWEco and CLME+) for the workshop. Mr. Corbin highlighted that:

“both projects recognized the importance of establishing a baseline of the major types, quantities and sources of pollutants as well as their impacts on human health, the environment and economic industries such as fishing, tourism and maritime transportation in the region.”

Over 80% of pollution of the Caribbean Sea comes from activities on land, such as deforestation, agricultural chemicals and farm waste as well as industrial, toxic waste, oil spills and siltation, littering and animal waste. This has destructive effects on the coastal and marine environment. Coral reefs, which provide US$375 million in goods and services annually to coastal economies through activities such as tourism, fisheries and maritime transportation are also at risk of pollution and have diminished in the Caribbean by 90% in recent times. Understanding the quantities, types and sources of pollutants will be critical to inform new policies, legislation and regulations; and ensure that negative impacts on human health and the environment are minimized. It will also support efforts to track the region’s achievement of the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in particular Goal 6 on protecting oceans and seas. The long-term aim of the State of Marine Environment report will be to help persons better understand and visualize changes to the Caribbean Sea and to inform regional decision-makers on efforts and investments needed to reduce and/or eliminate pollution of the coastal and marine environment.

UNEP CEP as Secretariat for the Cartagena Convention and Protocol on Land Based-Sources of Marine Pollution continues to work with Governments of the Wider Caribbean to prevent, reduce and/or control marine pollution. The LBS Protocol has been signed by 12 countries and this meeting is expected to help raise awareness of the importance of ratification by other countries in the Wider Caribbean Region.


About UNEP’s Caribbean Environment Programme (CEP)

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) established the Caribbean Environment Programme (CEP) in 1981 under the framework of its Regional Seas Programme. It was developed taking into consideration the importance and value of the Wider Caribbean Region’s fragile and vulnerable coastal and marine ecosystems, including an abundance of mainly endemic flora and fauna. A Caribbean Action Plan was adopted by the Countries of the Wider Caribbean Region (WCR) and that led to the development and adoption of the Cartagena Convention on 24 March 1983. This Convention is the first regionally binding treaty of its kind that seeks to protect and develop the marine environment of the WCR. Since its entry into force on 11 October 1986, 25 of the 28 Wider Caribbean Region countries have become Contracting Parties.

The Convention is supported by three Protocols:

  • Protocol concerning Cooperation in combating Oil Spills, which entered into force on October 11, 1986;
  • Protocol concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW), which entered into force on June 18, 2000;
  • Protocol concerning Pollution from Land-based sources and activities (LBS), which entered into force on August 13, 2010.

In addition, each Protocol is served by a Regional Activity Centre (RAC). These centres are based in Curacao (Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Information and Training Centre for the Wider Caribbean, RAC/REMPEITC) for the Oil Spills Protocol; in Guadeloupe (RAC/SPAW RAC for the SPAW Protocol and in Cuba, Centre of Engineering and Environmental Management of Coasts and Bays and in Trinidad & Tobago, the Institute of Marine Affairs, both for the LBS Protocol. As they endeavour to protect the Caribbean Sea and sustain our future, we look forward to their continued effort to preserve our Caribbean Sea by facilitating the implementation of the Cartagena Convention and its Protocols in the Wider Caribbean Region. The Regional Coordinating Unit (UNEP-CAR/RCU), established in 1986, serves as the Secretariat to the Cartagena Convention and is based in Kingston, Jamaica.

To find out more about the UNEP CAR-RCU, the Cartagena Convention and its Oil Spills, SPAW and LBS Protocols, please visit the www.cep.unep.org. You may also contact

Mr. Christopher Corbin, Programme
Officer for AMEP/CETA sub-programmes,
Tel: 1(876) 922-9267-9
Fax:1 (876)922-9292,
Email: cjc@cep.unep.org

We can also be found on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/UNEP-Caribbean-Environment-
Programme and Twitter at: https://twitter.com/UNEP_CEP as well as Youtube at:
https://www.youtube.com/user/CEPUNEP/featured