The Nature Conservancy has accepted our largest grant to date from the World Bank’s Global Environmental Facility (GEF), a key funder for our conservation work in the Caribbean. The Conservancy will implement the five year, $8.75 million grant to promote the development of long-term sustainable finance mechanisms and the management of protected areas in the Eastern Caribbean. The “Sustainable Financing and Management of Eastern Caribbean Marine Ecosystems” project will be a collaborative effort by the World Bank/GEF, the Conservancy and the participating Eastern Caribbean governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and St. Lucia to help those countries meet the objectives of the Caribbean Challenge.
The Conservancy and our project partners will set up the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund (CBF). The CBF’s initial capitalization of $32 million, which is expected to grow well beyond the project cycle, includes funds mobilized by the Conservancy, the German Development Bank and the GEF. With the support of project partners, consultants and pro bono attorneys, participating governments will establish individual national-level conservation trust funds to supplement the regional income. Together, these complimentary regional and national trust funds will increase funding for marine and terrestrial conservation by 25%. The grant will also support Conservancy efforts to protect more than 100,000 hectares (247,105 acres) of sensitive marine and coastal ecosystems in the Eastern Caribbean by establishing marine protected area demonstration sites showcasing sustainable management practices—helping participating countries achieve their Caribbean Challenge commitment to protect 20% of their marine and coastal areas by 2020. Finally, with support from the grant the Conservancy will implement a regional monitoring and information system of biophysical and socioeconomic indicators in protected areas.September 23, 2011