Conservation leaders meet to roll out funding and commitments towards sustainability in the Caribbean


The members of the Caribbean Challenge Initiative (CCI) gathered for the 2nd CCI-CBF Week, which included the CCI 1st Participants’ Assembly and the 5th Caribbean Biodiversity Fund (CBF) Annual Meeting. The meeting was a key stepping stone towards the 2nd CCI Summit planned for late 2018, reviewing progress towards objectives and goals and identifying the next steps for conservation for the region.

Four countries already at or beyond the “20-by-20” goal:

The CCI Participants’ Assembly discussed the outcomes of the CCI 2nd Summit, planned for late 2018, and reviewed their progress towards the “20-by-20” goal, which aims at protecting at least 20 percent of the marine and coastal environment of the participating countries by 2020. The Assembly embraced the Summit Roadmap, including another preparatory meeting combined with a Finance Roundtable in early of 2018. It also celebrated the successes of the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts and Nevis, and the U.S. Virgin Islands in meeting, and in most cases exceeding, the “20-by-20” goal. Ernesto Diaz, Director of coastal zone management in Puerto Rico noted, “Puerto Rico was pleased to be host for the CCI-CBF week this year. It was a chance for us to share with our island neighbors on Protected Area Management, coral reef and coastal habitats conservation initiatives and also to celebrate our own achievements in reaching the 20-by-20 CCI goal”.

The icing on the cake to conclude the Assembly, was the early commitment and support by Sandals Resorts International to be the Private Sector Co-Host for the 2018 Summit.

New sustainable finance agreements signed:

The week of activities included a trust fund signing a new Partnership Agreements with the CBF. The Saint Lucia National Conservation Fund (SLUNCF) will now join Fondo MARENA (from Dominican Republic) as the first two (2) national conservation trust funds to sign agreements with the CBF. These agreements signify CBF’s commitment to provide resources for conservation and effective management of the environment in Saint Lucia. As a result, the SLUNCF will be able to start channeling financial resources to conservation priorities in their countries.

Following in these footsteps, the National Conservation Trust Fund of Jamaica also signed an agreement that will lead to them receiving CBF funding in the near future. The CBF Process continues to grow. It was established with eight original National Conversation Trust Funds, and there are now new and emerging Funds from 11 Caribbean countries and territories joining this endeavor.

The meetings were supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety through the German Development Bank (KfW), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Global Environment Facility (GEF), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and the Governments of Puerto Rico and Grenada.

Asha-Gaye Cowell
Program Officer, Conservation Finance
Asha-Gaye Cowell is the Conservation Finance Program Officer. She has a diverse academic background, which includes a BSc. Economics and Statistics with first class honors, MSc. International Public and Development Management and a Visiting Fellowship Certification from the University of Oxford where she studied Behavioral Economics along with Strategy and Ethics. Complementing her academic prowess is a cross-section of professional experiences, including work with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), UNECLAC, USAID, the Permanent Missions of Jamaica to the UN, among others. With extensive civic involvement, volunteerism, and strategic partnerships, Asha is very passionate about leadership, international and regional development, economics, youth and climate change.

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