Caribbean Regional Committee of IUCN Members

01 August 2012 | Article

Following the launch of the Caribbean Initiative at the Barcelona World Congress in 2008, a programme for 2008-2012 was developed. A key strategic output for implementation of this programme was identified as the establishment of an IUCN sub-regional committee for the Insular Caribbean.

Establishment of the IUCN Caribbean Regional Committee

IUCN members from the Caribbean met with the Director General and other Secretariat staff in Trinidad and Tobago in May 2009 to examine the Caribbean Programme of Work and implementation strategy. Draft by-laws for a sub-regional IUCN Committee for the Caribbean were developed, and specific recommendations were put forward for the process towards the establishment of the Committee.

Collaboration among the IUCN Caribbean members continued electronically and the IUCN Caribbean Regional Committee (CRC) was formally established in October 2010 with six members being appointed through electronic voting. The Committee was formally recognised by the IUCN Council at its 75th Meeting in November 2010.

Reviewing implementation of the IUCN Caribbean Programme

The first meeting of the CRC was held in November 2010 in the Dominican Republic, and looked at the role and function of the Committee and areas for action, especially implementation of the Caribbean Initiative Programme 2008-2012. The CRC executive took the opportunity of the opening of the new ORMA office in May 2011 to meet with the Secretariat to discuss plans for the 2012 World Congress and the Committee also met with Caribbean members in the margins of the Regional Forum for MesoAmerican and the Caribbean held in October 2011 in the Dominican Republic.

A key action item was the mid-term review of the Programme coordinated by ORMA in September 2011, with the final draft report released to the CRC for comment in December 2011. The review recognised the establishment of the Regional Committee but also reflected concerns regarding the slow progress and inadequate involvement of IUCN Caribbean members in implementation of the Programme.

A strategic review and planning meeting with the CRC was held at ORMA in March 2012 to review lessons learnt from the mid-term review, and to start planning development of a new programme for work for the period 2013-2016. Recommendations were made regarding how IUCN Caribbean members could be more effectively engaged in partnering with the IUCN Secretariat and Commissions in collaborative implementation of the IUCN Caribbean Programme. The draft Programme 2013-2016 is currently being reviewed.

Main successes of the period

Although only recently established, the IUCN Caribbean Regional Committee is proud to have:

  • developed a working relationship with ORMA, other arms of the IUCN Secretariat implementing projects in the Caribbean, and the IUCN Councillor Mr. Spencer Thomas of Grenada;
  • energised IUCN Caribbean members who have a strong commitment to collaborate on joint projects and collectively advocate for the IUCN Caribbean Programme 2013-2016.

Main challenges looking forward

The main challenges facing the IUCN Caribbean Regional Committee are to:

  • advocate for continued and expanded support for implementation of the IUCN Caribbean Programme;
  • secure specific funding to support functioning of the Committee and a strong role in implementation of the IUCN Caribbean Programme, in collaboration with the Secretariat and Commissions;
  • energise the small Caribbean membership, which is presently unclear or unconvinced of the value being added by IUCN in the region, and expand the membership;
  • effectively engage Commission members from the Caribbean;
  • effectively collaborate with ORMA and other arms of the IUCN Secretariat with interests in the Caribbean;
  • encourage and facilitate transition of management of the IUCN Caribbean Initiative from ORMA to a sub-office located within the Caribbean, manned by personnel with experience and contacts in the Caribbean.

Submitted by Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI), Chair
and Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ), Vice-Chair
July 2012