The Project for Improving National Sargassum Management Capacities in the Caribbean
This project aims to support the enhancement of the national capacity for the management of sargassum inundations by providing five (5) small island developing states in the Eastern Caribbean with equipment, expertise, and technical knowledge to collect, remove, transport, and dispose of sargassum accumulated on shore and/or in the nearshore.
Barbados, St. Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago
Duration: March 2022 - Feb 2025
Project Budget (USD)
Funding by the Government of Japan
Since 2011, massive, episodic influxes of floating sargassum seaweed inundating Caribbean shorelines have manifested as an emergent coastal hazard and a recurring external shock to the systems of Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS). According to the 2021 UNEP Sargassum White Paper, Caribbean territories can receive as much as 100 metric tonnes of sargassum per kilometre of beach per day during an inundation event. These influxes lead to inundations of shorelines, resulting in economic losses across various sectors while also creating social and health issues for many coastal communities. In addition, coastal ecosystems have been negatively impacted by both the fresh and decaying seaweed. The challenges is compounded by the fact that timing and quantities of inundations are difficult to predict. This phenomenon, when paired with the adverse effects of climate change – such as sea level rise, ocean acidification, and other coastal hazards, increases the pressure on vulnerable coastal zones. SIDS are especially vulnerable to such external shocks, and typically struggle with the capacity to mount a response.
The project aims to support the enhancement of the national capacity for the management of sargassum seaweed by providing five (5) countries in the Caribbean with equipment, expertise, and technical knowledge to collect, remove, transport, and dispose of accumulated/stranded sargassum to mitigate the reoccurring threat posed. This initiative will boost marine and nearshore coastal conservation efforts, support integrated coastal management actions, and mitigate negative impacts on sectors such as fisheries, public health, and tourism with consideration for including gender dimensions where possible.
The project will achieve this primarily through the purchase of sargassum removal and collection machinery, which will be complemented and supported by relevant gender responsive training and capacity development programmes. Supporting activities will include increasing capacity in scientific monitoring of sargassum inundation quantities, development of sargassum collection and management plans, training in removal, transport and disposal of sargassum, and facilitation of regional dialogues, communications, sharing experiences and lessons learnt.
The project also seeks to identify downstream opportunities for MSME’s on the use of freshly harvested sargassum collected prior to decomposition. To this end, the project will seek to leverage partnerships with the UNDP Blue Accelerator Lab and other strategic partners in the region.