Systemic resource management in the Caribbean
Title: Improving the climate resilience of Caribbean island and coastal states with systemic resource management on land and water
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Saint Lucia
Lead executing agency: Secretariat of the Caribbean Community
Overall term: 2017 to 2021
Worldwide, the Caribbean is among the regions most affected by climate change. Preserving ecosystems and their biodiversity is critical for long-term development in the Caribbean island and coastal states. Failure to do so would adversely affect tourism, fishing and agriculture in particular. However, the population working in these sectors has virtually no incentives to change their production processes in order to increase their adaptability to climate change, and they lack guidelines on how to do so.
Although practical approaches for environmentally friendly use of marine and terrestrial resources do already exist, to date they have only been piloted in individual countries of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). The CARICOM states have not yet mainstreamed systemic resource management for more effective adaptation to climate change.
Selected CARICOM member states implement systemic resource management in marine protected areas and onshore ecosystems.
The project takes an integrated landscape- and ecosystem-based management approach to climate change adaptation and biodiversity conservation. To accomplish these goals, it is working with the Secretariat of the Caribbean Community and various state and civil partners. Specifically, the project promotes the introduction and use of location-appropriate farming and land use practices throughout the waterside landscapes. For example, the project supports agricultural and forestry systems and promotes environmentally friendly use of tropical forests.
Similarly, the project is helping to create new livelihoods in the marine sector to mitigate poverty among fisherfolk and their families. To accomplish this, boat moorings are to be refurbished, and fish aggregating devices and refrigerating equipment are to be purchased. The project also seeks to develop tourism initiatives. The aim is to raise awareness among the population for the economic importance of the marine protected areas.
As part of this management approach, further measures to improve adaptation to climate change have been planned. They involve improving the drinking water supply and promoting institutional and organisational capacity building among national water supply companies.
This approach will meet the needs of the population while achieving the goals and results that are important to external stakeholders such as national governments and regional communities.
The project has already created and consolidated a series of value chains and, as a result, sources of income in the marine protected areas it supports. Targeted education and training measures, including fish curing and storage in refrigeration chains, enable the residents of fishing villages to hold regular ‘fish fry events’ at weekends. These events are popular among the population and provide those involved with significant additional income. The same applies to refrigeration of fish products, allowing them to be delivered on demand over extended periods. Fish aggregating devices are now used in offshore areas (up to 50 km). As the fisherfolk have been trained in the use of GPS devices, they can navigate directly to the devices. This protects the fish stocks in the coastal marine protected areas and increase the catches at sea through reliable navigation. Camera drones are being used to monitor the protected areas both at sea and on land and to make environmental monitoring more precise.
Similarly, agricultural production chains have been successfully created in the hinterland of the marine protected areas. For example, the population produces granola, wine, fruit juices, ice cream and spices from various local agricultural raw materials. Agricultural training courses have allowed new irrigation processes to be introduced on model farms. School gardens and agricultural enterprises using organic farming methods have been established, and climate-resistant varieties introduced. This has mitigated the cultivation risk, especially during drought phases. Moreover, the amount of harmful chemicals (fertilisers, herbicides, pesticides) released into the water network has been reduced.