Caribbean States agree on historic roadmap for sustainably managing marine life

11 Mar 2013

Cartagena, Colombia – Representatives of fisheries and environment ministries of 21 States from the Caribbean region have agreed on a common roadmap towards the sustainable management of their shared living marine resources.

Delegates meeting in Cartagena de Indias last week reached consensus on the content of a 10-year Strategic Action Programme aimed at ensuring the sustainable provision of the goods and benefits derived from the region’s marine ecosystems. 

The meeting was organized by the Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem (CLME) Project – which covers almost 4.5 million square kilometres of marine space constituted by the Caribbean and North Brazil Shelf Large Marine Ecosystems. The multi-million dollar project is implemented by the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

The project area is well known for its rich biodiversity as well as for supporting a number of important fisheries such as for the Caribbean spiny lobster and queen conch. However, the region has been suffering from environmental degradation due to overfishing, pollution, invasive species (e.g. lionfish), and climate change.

The agreed upon decade-long programme sets out to reverse this trend by strengthening the cooperation between participating countries, all of which are affected by the transboundary problem of continued marine ecosystem degradation.

The programme outlines the framework and guidelines necessary to ensure coordinated action in the fields of fisheries enhancement, fisheries sustainability, and biodiversity and ecosystem protection within the region.

The Head of UNDP’s Water and Ocean Governance Programme, Andrew Hudson, said the marine environment represents a major contribution to the food security, livelihoods and economic development of the Caribbean region. 

“The commitment by the 21 countries to sustainably manage their shared marine resources is an historic moment and underscores the tremendous value placed on the goods and services provided by this signficant ecosystem,” Mr Hudson said.

Together with the participating United Nations agencies and regional organizations, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) – the entity that co-finances the CLME Project – also applauded this remarkable achievement.