In a joint effort to safeguard and bolster the Caribbean region’s tourism-dependent economy, fifteen Caribbean governments and seventeen corporations met on Necker Island, home of Sir Richard Branson, in the British Virgin Islands this weekend and made a series of bold commitments to preserve and protect the region’s marine and coastal environment, and accelerate efforts to transition to renewable energy.
“Protecting and harnessing the natural world is the greatest opportunity of our lifetimes,” said Sir Richard Branson, Founder of the Virgin Group. “The energy challenge and marine conservation challenge in the Caribbean go hand-in-hand: we can’t have a healthy economy without a healthy environment, nor a healthy environment without a healthy economy.”
These commitments included approximately $64 million in funding to support marine and coastal conservation, along with commitments to take new actions and to put in place more sustainable business practices.
The event, launching the second phase of the Caribbean Challenge Initiative (CCI), was co-hosted by Dr. the Right Honourable Keith C. Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada and Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE, Premier of the British Virgin Islands, and Sir Richard Branson, Founder of the Virgin Group. The event’s sponsoring partner was Tiffany & Co. Foundation, and the event was organized by The Nature Conservancy, with support from Virgin Unite, the non-profit entrepreneurial foundation of the Virgin Group, and the Carbon War Room.
“We are honored to be part of such a historic event, and we applaud our fellow Caribbean nations participating in this Summit,” said Prime Minister Dr. the Right Honourable Keith C. Mitchell of Grenada. “We are charting a path for future generations, stressing the importance of conservation throughout the region.”
The high-level dialogue resulted in consensus on the utmost importance of working together – as a region and across sectors – to tackle the pressing and interlinked issues of marine and coastal conservation, renewable energy and economic development. The specific areas for further work include:
“The Caribbean is truly a paradise under threat, and today’s focus is a critical step toward a brighter future. Governments and their people, companies and their consumers, and local communities all must work together to protect this beautiful region,” said Glenn Prickett, Chief External Affairs Officer for The Nature Conservancy. “This event has demonstrated that no longer is protecting nature viewed as a luxury, it is critical to the success of the region’s economy.”
Commitments announced at the Summit by individual governments to support these efforts included:
A number of corporations also pledged support to protect the Caribbean’s marine and coastal environment, including:
Commitments announced at the Summit by government funding agencies and non-governmental organizations:
In addition to these commitments, in one of the highlights of the Summit, The Nature Conservancy and GOOD – together with Tiffany & Co., Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Ltd, KOR Water and Guy Harvey Sportswear – launched the Defend Paradise campaign. This campaign is a consumer-based initiative designed to generate funding for marine conservation in the Caribbean and raise consumer awareness of the marine environment. Defend Paradise will generate support by selling co-branded products, providing exclusive discounts and raising awareness through experiential marketing that brings the natural beauty of the Caribbean to life for those who are unable to visit.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.
The Nature Conservancy