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80 for Marine Talks Here Next Week

GOVERNMENT, private and civil society officials meet here next week for a five-day conference aimed at advancing regional marine conservation goals, sustainable finance strategies and cooperation in the Caribbean.

The Fourth Caribbean Biodiversity Fund (CBF) Annual Meeting and the First Meeting of the Caribbean Challenge Initiative (CCI) Council will be held here from September 19-23, and will be attended by nearly 80 Caribbean and international participants.

The Caribbean Challenge Initiative (CCI) is a coalition of governments, companies and partners committed to protecting twenty percent of the Caribbean marine and costal environment by 2020 through the establishment of marine protected areas, other conservation initiatives, and increased corporate responsibility.

The organisers said that in order to achieve this ambitious goal, the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund (CBF) has partnered with the CCI to provide the financial framework to sustainably fund the effective management of the Caribbean marine environment.

“Environmental degradation in the Caribbean is serious. The CCI and CBF are bringing multiple actors to the table to take down barriers, collaborate and advance conservation actions that are meaningful for our Caribbean livelihoods and national economies,” says Yabanex Batista, CBF chief executive officer.

The CBF is a regional endowment fund of US$42 million contributed by the German government through the German Development Bank (KfW), the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through World Bank (WB) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and The Nature Conservancy (TNC).

“CBF provides an innovative financial solution to bridge the funding gap for environmental initiatives. The CBF, together with an initial set of eight national conservation funds, form the Caribbean Sustainable Finance Architecture.”
Through the CBF, funding will be available for conservation activities from mangrove restoration to managing some of the region’s marine protected areas.

CCI and CBF participating jurisdictions include Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Grenada, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and the US Virgin Islands, a list which may grow during the course of next week’s meetings.

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