The Nature Conservancy says that the Global Environment Facility (GEF), through the World Bank, has contributed US$7.2-million to the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund (CBF) to promote the conservation, protection, management and expansion of national protected area systems and other areas of biodiversity significance across the Eastern Caribbean region.
The marine and coastal resources of the Caribbean – its coral reefs, beaches, fisheries and mangroves – serve as an essential economic engine. However, unsustainable coastal development, climate change and overfishing, as well as land-based sources of sediment and pollution are negatively impacting the region’s marine and coastal ecosystems.
The CBF will distribute the proceeds generated by the investment to conservation trust funds that are in the process of being established in Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. These locally-managed funds will make grants to government agencies and non-governmental organizations to execute conservation projects with a strong emphasis on marine habitats.
“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,” says Yabanex Batista, Chief Executive Officer of the CBF. “We are currently working on increasing the CBF capital and bringing more resources to further assist 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,” says 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 Nature Conservancy is at: http://www.nature.org