With seventy per cent living along the coast, the Caribbean population and their livelihoods directly depend upon healthy marine and coastal resources.
Over the past few decades, development, pollution, overfishing and climate change have caused dramatic declines in the condition of regional marine and coastal ecosystems. Limited financial resources for conservation and a lack of long-term sustainable finance mechanisms exacerbate the problem, particularly in Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
The Caribbean Biodiversity Fund (CBF) was established to assist Caribbean SIDS in achieving their conservation goals under the CBD, the Caribbean Challenge Initiative and national conservation priorities. This regional endowment will support multiple National Protected Area Trust Funds (NPATFs). The solution responds to the countries‘ pledge to create effective finance mechanisms that provide reliable funding to sustainably manage marine and coastal resources over the long term. The aim is to conserve at least twenty per cent of the Caribbean’s marine and coastal environment by 2020.
With an initial endowment of US$ 42 million, the CBF provides funding to Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines for addressing environmental challenges while raising the conservation profile in the region. Efforts are underway to establish national level trust funds which would be eligible to receive and disperse CBF funding to local projects.
Once fully operational, the CBF is expected to generate US$ 2– 4 million per year in funding and attract additional resources from sectors like finance, tourism and public-private partnerships.