Commission on Ecosystem Management

North America and non-Spanish-speaking Caribbean

The boreal landscape near Kasabonika Lake, Ontario, Canada Photo: WCS Canada, permission by Cheryl Chetkiewicz

The North America and Caribbean (NAC) Region of IUCN’s Commission on Ecosystem Management includes more than 20 countries and Caribbean island nations where Spanish is not the national language.** With a combined population of almost 400 million people, the region incorporates complex climate-related ecosystem management, governmental and cultural issues from both developed and developing countries.  Covering a wide range of ecosystems, it includes islands from Hawaii to Aruba, forested mountains from the Canadian Rockies to the U.S. Appalachian Mountains, central plain rangelands, and vast coastal and riverine systems.  In addition to vast stretches of wilderness, the region is home to some of the most populated urban areas in the world.

**Mexico, Cuba and Dominican Republic are part of CEM’s MesoAmerica Region.

Regional Objectives

WCC Panel CEM North America & Caribbean

CEM North America & Caribbean Region aims to promote knowledge about sustainable management of ecosystems by building collaborations with scientists, academia, NGOs, community-based organizations, ministries and the private sector in the region.  In support of the Hawai'i Commitments adopted at the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress, the goal is to cultivate and strengthen a ‘culture of conservation’ in the region that focuses on IUCN’s work for nature-based solutions as the basis for managing resilient ecosystems.

These solutions involve experiences from natural and transformed ecosystems; linkages between agroecosystems, forest ecosystems, and coastal ecosystems; sustainable ecosystem approaches to climate change as well as natural and human-made disasters; and socioeconomic knowledge across broad cultures about land management and protected areas. The management of resilient ecosystems includes synergies with governance, regional and global policies, and community stakeholders to enhance biodiversity, its services, human well-being, health, livelihoods and food security.

Platforms for Dialogue: 2017-2020

The CEM regional program convenes opportunities for dialogue for local partners, members and stakeholders about ecosystem management issues related to the region.  Its workshop on renewable energy at the 2016 World Conservation Congress in Hawai'i brought together participants from U.S. islands in the Pacific and from Caribbean islands, a local foundation, and the private sector working across sectors to promote nature-based renewable energy.  Its partnership with the Society for Ecological Restoration led to CEM coordinating a symposium in 2011 on restoring ecosystems impacted by the Deep Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. CEM has participated in regional programs at the World Resources Institute, the World Bank, the Wilson Center, the U.S. Academy of Sciences, and the Inter-American Development Bank-Barbados, among many others. 

For 2017-2020, CEM will continue to convene platforms for dialogue with partners in the region. We aim to develop collaborations with other regional IUCN Commissions including the Commission on Environment, Economics, and Social Policy (CEESP); the World Commission on Environmental Law (WCEL); the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA);  and Species Specialist Groups focused on ecosystem issues related to this region, such as the Polar Bear Specialist Group working in the Arctic. Of particular interest during this period will be developing programs that incorporate participation from indigenous communities working on regional land management issues, agroecosystems on the North American mainland, and regional coastal management issues, including on its islands.  We seek expressions of interest from organizations wishing to collaborate with us. 

Workshop on Caribbean Coastal Capital Center of Excellence, hosted in October 2016 by Inter-American Development Bank-Barbados

Red List of Ecosystems & Ecosystem Governance

A goal for 2017-20 is to expand risk assessments by the Red List of Ecosystems beyond the three already conducted in this region—two in the U.S. and one in the Caribbean--working with IUCN local secretariats, academia, governmental and non-governmental organizations.  Particular priority is placed on promoting ecosystem assessments in North America’s Arctic, including its marine and terrestrial ecosystems threatened by climate change.  The regional CEM program will also work to strengthen actions oriented to ecosystem governance, continuing support of global initiatives such as the World Forum on Ecosystem Governance and exploring possibilities for similar regional forums.

Icebergs in Greenland


The region maintains a public Facebook page with regional ecosystem news and updated information about our activities as well as a members-only Linked In page. Quarterly regional newsletters with news and opportunities are emailed to CEM members in North America & the Caribbean. Please visit us.  

Regional Chair:

Charlotte Moser


Darwin Horning


Focal Point: Liette Vaseur


Go to top