“Biodiversity remains the answer to several sustainable development challenges. From nature-based solutions to climate, health issues, food and water security, and sustainable livelihoods, biodiversity is the foundation upon which we can build back better.”
-The Convention on Biological Diversity, as it marks the International Day for Biological Diversity on 22 May 2022
GEF IWEco Project interventions have been designed to have a positive impact upon areas of great ecological value and which support many species of flora and fauna in our ten participating countries.
The Caribbean Sea Basin is globally significant, having been designated as one of the 36 biodiversity hotspots in the world due to its high endemicity and threat risk (Ecosystem Profile - The Caribbean Island Biodiversity Hotspot – CEPF 2019). According to Conservation International (CI), the Caribbean Islands ‘hotspot’ supports exceptionally diverse ecosystems.
Conversions of forest and coastal/aquatic ecosystems have triggered loss of species richness and diversity in all the countries of the Caribbean. As lands and coastal ecosystems have been cleared for development, habitat fragmentation results in diminished ecological viability of remaining forest fragments, often left without connecting biological corridors. In many of the islands, fragmented populations survive only in pockets within inaccessible high-elevation forests, or in areas that remain isolated due to lack of development investments. The rich biodiversity of the Caribbean consists of both native and introduced species. The uncontrolled expansion of exotic species is a significant issue that affects both land and biodiversity.
Based on reliable records, at least 38 Caribbean species have been declared extinct (CI). This underscores the global importance of Caribbean ecosystems and the need for critical conservation interventions.
In recognition of the rich biological diversity found amongst Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS), the IWEco Project asked partners in participating countries to submit photographs of selected species of flora and fauna which could be featured in a series of posters. The resulting collection includes endangered species as well as some that are faring well. It wasn’t easy selecting the species which are featured - there are so many wonderful plants and animals inhabiting our islands.
These snapshots serve to remind us of the rich and diverse natural world out there, of the vulnerability of so many species which we take for granted ...and of our responsibility for taking care of the environment upon which we …and they… depend.
We hope you enjoy the posters and we thank all who contributed their photographs for helping us to reflect upon, and appreciate, biodiversity and to consider the importance of “building a shared future for all life” – the theme of Biodiversity Day 2022.
The posters may be accessed at the following links: