A Big Boost for Caribbean Conservation


Above: Grenada (CJ Photo)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

The Caribbean Biodiversity Fund will be receiving a $7.2 million contribution from the Global Environmental Facility through the World Bank.

The funding will promote the “conservation, protection, management and expansion of national protected area systems and other areas of biodiversity significance across the Eastern Caribbean region,” according to a release.

The World Bank said the contribution was made under the aegis of the GEF/World Bank’s Sustainable Financing and Management of Eastern Caribbean Marine Ecosystem Project, which is working on the conservation and management of fragile ecosystems in the region.

The Nature Conservancy is executing the project on behalf of participating countries.

“The Caribbean is the most biologically rich area in the Atlantic, retaining 10% of the world’s coral reefs and 12,000 marine species,” said Dr Philip Kramer, director of The Nature Conservancy’s Caribbean Program. “Continued investments in the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund, such as this generous support from the World Bank/GEF, are critical for putting the Caribbean on a path to a sustainable future.”

The CBF said the funds would be distributed to conservation trust funds being set up in Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

“The return on investments from the CBF endowment will be a sustainable source of funds that will help countries cover their costs for the management of protected area systems and other conservation needs,” said Yabanex Batista, CEO of the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund. “We are currently working on increasing the CBF capital and bringing more resources to further assist countries.”

The CBF is part of the Caribbean Challenge Initiative, which first launched in 2008.

The CBF, which was established in 2012, has received $42 million in initial financial commitments from donors (including $8 million from The Nature Conservancy).

“The CBF is an unprecedented regional partnership bringing together multilateral and bilateral agencies, international NGOs, countries and local stakeholders in the Caribbean,” said Jens Mackensen of the German Development Bank. “We are grateful to the GEF and the World Bank for their contribution, which bring us very close to achieving the CBF Phase I endowment capitalization target of US$42 million.”


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