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A Commitment to the Caribbean

The Caribbean Summit of Political and Business Leaders, May 17-18, 2013 brought together heads of state and corporate executives to launch Phase II of the Caribbean Challenge Initiative (CCI) to address environmental threats to the Caribbean region. With the goal of protecting 20 percent of the Caribbean's marine and coastal resources by 2020, the CCI is among the most ambitious conservation initiatives ever undertaken.

Hosted by Prime Minister Dr. the Right Honourable Keith C. Mitchell of Grenada, Premier Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE of the British Virgin Islands and Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group, the Summit served as a forum to announce new CCI partners and large-scale public and private funding commitments to advance the goals of safeguarding the Caribbean region's tourism-based economy.

"Protecting our natural resources is one of the biggest opportunities of our lifetime, and nowhere is it more evident than in the Caribbean," said Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group. "This Summit is a milestone on the path to protecting the Caribbean's environment and helping empower the region's communities and economy."

The Summit provided an opportunity for the participants to exchange ideas, share experiences and success stories, and agree to collaboration mechanisms going forward. Government leaders signed a Leaders Declaration designed to accelerate Phase II of the CCI, and corporate and business leaders signed a Corporate Compact outlining their commitments to forwarding the work of the CCI.

"The Caribbean is truly paradise under threat, and today's focus is a critical step toward a brighter future. Governments and their people, companies and their consumers all must work together to protect this beautiful paradise," said Glenn Prickett, Vice President of External Affairs for The Nature Conservancy. "This event has demonstrated that."

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