Panama City, November 30, 2023 – The Caribbean Biodiversity Fund (CBF) proudly announces the winners of its inaugural Biodiversity Excellence Award for Caribbean Heroes (BEACH) Award, a prestigious recognition honoring individuals and organizations for their remarkable contributions to biodiversity conservation in the Caribbean. The ceremony, held in the backdrop of the organization’s Board Meeting in Panama City on Monday, November 27, 2023 marked a historic moment for the CBF. The first BEACH Awardees were UWI Professor of Marine Biology Dr. Judith Gobin and Reef Check Dominican Republic.
Created to honor two founding CBF Directors Mrs. Eleanor Garraway-Phillips and Dr. Jens Mackensen, the CBF BEACH Award aims to acknowledge and celebrate the unwavering commitment and outstanding achievements of individuals and organizations involved in regional sustainable development.
About the Awardees
Judith Gobin, Professor of Marine Biology
Dr. Judith Gobin, an internationally recognized marine scientist with over 40 years of experience, has made significant contributions to the knowledge of marine biodiversity in Trinidad and Tobago and throughout the Caribbean. As the first female Professor in Life Sciences at the St. Augustine Campus, UWI, Dr. Gobin has been a trailblazer in marine sciences, contributing globally to discussions on ocean conservation and the sustainable use of marine resources.
As she accepted her Award, Dr. Gobin shared, “I am honored to be selected as one of the first recipients of the aptly named CBF BEACH Awards. Protection and conservation of our biodiversity has never been more important than it is now. The conservation measures implemented today will impact future generations within the Caribbean and the world.”
Reef Check Dominican Republic
Established in 2004 and led by Dr. Rubén Torres, Reef Check Dominican Republic plays its part in addressing the coral reef crisis in that country by offering sustainable solutions and raising global awareness. The organization’s role in conserving coastal marine resources, collaborating with local partners to enhance tourism quality and pioneer unique tourism products and services that make local conservation economically sustainable is a boon to coral reef restoration in its home country.
Representing Reef Check Dominican Republic, Rubén Torres while accepting his award said, “This award being presented to the institution I founded, is a recognition of the collective effort of many, like our board of directors, passionate communities, and supportive partners. As we look to the future, our vision becomes clearer every day— a Caribbean where marine biodiversity is plentiful, where our actions are guided by sustainability, and where every community plays a role, and benefits, from sustainable management of our natural resources.”
In congratulating the Awardees, CBF Chair Mrs. Karolin Troubetzkoy noted that they had “set the bar exactly where the CBF wanted it to be,” she proudly went on, “your passion gives me continuing hope for a sustainable and thriving future for the Caribbean.”
The biennial CBF BEACH Award serves as a platform to showcase the exemplary leadership, innovative approaches, and dedication to biodiversity conservation and sustainable development demonstrated by these deserving awardees. Their accomplishments inspire others to actively contribute to the CBF’s mission and vision, reinforcing the importance of preserving the Caribbean’s rich biodiversity.
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The Caribbean Biodiversity Fund (CBF) is a regional environmental fund established in 2012 with the mission of ensuring continuous funding for conservation and sustainable development in the Caribbean. Operating through three programs—Conservation Finance, Climate Change, and Advancing the Circular Economy—the CBF is committed to expanding its impact in the Caribbean.
About the CBF BEACH Award:
Named in honor of founding board members, Mrs. Eleanor Garraway-Phillips and Dr. Jens Mackensen, the CBF’s Biodiversity Excellence Award for Caribbean Heroes (BEACH) is a biennial recognition bestowed upon individuals and organizations for outstanding contributions to biodiversity conservation in the Caribbean. Launched in September 2022, the inaugural winners, Professor of Marine Biology Judith Gobin and Reef Check Dominican Republic were announced on World Nature Conservation Day in July 2023. The award aims to highlight Caribbean conservation heroes who make intangible contributions to conserving the Caribbean biodiversity hotspot. The Caribbean is home to more than 1,000 native species and is considered a biodiversity hotspot, however many of these species are now endangered. These regional conservation heroes are on the frontline to protect and preserve the Caribbean’s diverse ecosystems.