Caribbean States Become Biodiversity Champions

Biodiversity Champions14 August 2013: Eight Caribbean governments, in cooperation with business partners, have made significant financial and substantive commitments in support of the Aichi biodiversity targets as part of the second phase of the Caribbean Challenge Initiative, launched at a Summit of Caribbean Political and Business Leaders.

The Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines signed a Leaders Declaration at the Summit of Caribbean Political and Business Leaders (17-18 May 2013, British Virgin Islands) that contains key commitments to marine and coastal conservation including; "In each participating country and territory, to effectively conserve and manage at least 20% of the marine and coastal environment by 2020." To help progress toward this goal, governments agreed to have in place by 2020, fully functioning sustainable finance mechanisms as a contribution to achieving target 20 of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity on financial resource mobilization.

Also agreed was a set of seven specific actions covering a broad scope of issues related to the marine environment including marine protected areas, fisheries, tourism, climate change adaptation and marine pollution. The commitments are relevant to the implementation of several Aichi targets, most notably target 11 on marine protected areas, but also support target 14 on ecosystem restoration and safeguarding, and target 15 on resilience and restoration. In addition, fifteen companies signed a corporate compact containing key commitments supporting marine and coastal conservation, including through changes in business practices. The companies formally joined the Caribbean Challenge Initiative.

The Biodiversity Champions campaign, launched at the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 2012, allows countries and organizations to make pledges to support one or more of the Aichi biodiversity targets. Relevant commitments announced as part of the second phase of the Caribbean Challenge Initiative amount to US$75 million. [CBD Press Release][CBD Notification, including Outcome of the Caribbean Challenge Initiative][Biodiversity Champions Webpage]