World Commission on Protected Areas

WCPA Caribbean and Central America

Longlure pink-tinted frog fish on a branching vase sponge

Allan Valverde BlancoIUCN WCPA Caribbean Regional Vice-Chair


Countries of the Region
Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Dutch Special Municipalities (Bonaire, Saint Eustatius, and Saba), Grenada, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Puerto Rico, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin-Saint Maarten, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, United States Virgin Islands


  1. To improve the capabilities of protected area managers and capacities of management institutions.
  2. To increase public support for protected areas through the development of mechanisms for assessment and articulation of the contribution of protected areas to local economies and national development.
  3. To improve protected areas governance by increasing the opportunities for involvement of indigenous peoples and local communities in protected areas management.
  4. To support regional and national initiatives for biodiversity conservation.
  5. To develop a regional mechanism to support ongoing assessments of protected areas management effectiveness.
  6. To develop and sustain mechanisms for protected areas knowledge production and management in the Caribbean.

Key Issues

The islands of the Insular Caribbean either border or fall within the Caribbean Sea, a semi-enclosed body of water.  The shallow and semi-enclosed nature of the Caribbean Sea forms the basis for the International Maritime Organization’s designation of the Caribbean Sea as a Special Area under MARPOL Annex V.  The significance of the Caribbean Sea to the development of the countries comprising the Wider Caribbean Region is underscored by the proposal for the United Nations to designate the Caribbean Sea as a special zone in the context of sustainable development.  In addition to the importance of the Caribbean Sea to the 40 million people of the Wider Caribbean Region, the Caribbean is a bio-geographical region of global significance, displaying high levels of endemism and recognised as a biodiversity hotspot.  The Caribbean is also recognised as one of the regions most vulnerable to the effects of global climate change.  Effective protected areas management is a key component of sustainable land management and ocean governance, both of which are of particular importance to the quality of life of Caribbean peoples.

Future Plans

  • Development of sustainable financing mechanisms to ensure consistency and effectiveness of protected areas development programmes.
  • Improving management effectiveness; by enhancing the critical thinking skills of protected areas staff, building capacity for data management, building capacity for effective participation in the local and national socio-political processes, and building competencies in conflict management and design of adaptive management systems.
  • The small size of Caribbean islands dictates that protected areas are designated to fulfil multiple social, economic, and ecological objectives.  Resilience of the social-ecological systems will be enhanced through application of the appropriate conceptual and management frameworks.
  • Mainstreaming protected areas development by bringing it more centrally into the development planning process; ensuring that economic strategies and land use plans recognize the critical contributions by protected areas to sustainable development.
  • Building support for protected areas development; by building partnerships to strengthen social structures, improve community livelihoods, facilitate investment in social infrastructure, and support education and other forms of community development.


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