Good news from the Caribbean

04 December 2012 | Article

Nine protected areas in the European overseas territories in the Caribbean have been listed since 2010 under the SPAW (Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife) Protocol of the Cartegena Convention. The SPAW Protocol is the only legally-binding international agreement on biodiversity in the Wider Caribbean, and a key mechanism for strengthening cooperation and increasing consideration of ecological connectivity within the Wider Caribbean.

Since 2010, 16 protected areas in the Wider Caribbean have been listed in the Protocol. Among these, more than half belong to European overseas territories: six in the French Antilles and French Guiana, and three in the Dutch Caribbean islands. The listing took place after several years of developing criteria and guidelines by a dedicated Caribbean expert working group.

Being listed under SPAW means that the protected area is acknowledged for its quality and the efficiency of its conservation and management. The label can also be an useful tool to promote tourism and strengthen enforcement. Being listed also implies that the protected area is included in the cooperation programme developed by the SPAW Secretariat, and given priority for SPAW funding in view of improving management, developing science, and extending training and networking.

The process of listing protected areas under SPAW starts with countries submitting presentation reports, on a voluntary basis, on the areas they wish to see listed. The reports are then reviewed by the SPAW-Regional Activity Center and assessed by the SPAW Scientific Committee against the criteria that have been developed to that purpose, before a final decision is taken by the Conference of the Parties. For more information on the listing process and the criteria used to assess applications, see here.

You can find the list of all the Protected Areas that have been approved for listing under SPAW and the presentation reports submitted by countries to that purpose on the SPAW-RAC's website here.