While there’s no shortage of marine-protected areas in the Caribbean, there is a lack of money to manage them. The Caribbean Challenge Initiative hopes to change that. Beginning early next year, tens of millions of dollars will be distributed to participating countries.
Ten Caribbean governments so far have made the Caribbean Challenge pledge — designating at least one-fifth of marine and coastal areas as MPAs. Since 2008, when the initiative was first launched, 50 new MPAs have been declared. At a May meeting on Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands, key partners pledged large-scale financial support for the initiative.
The Nature Conservancy is coordinating the initiative. “It is a game-changer with respect to turning around the way business and governments have been stewarding the marine habitats of the Caribbean,” says Philip Kramer, the Conservancy’s Caribbean program director. “Marine parks can address a number of threats when they are put in the right places, and have solid science-based zoning and management plans with enforcement.”