15th July 2022:  Representatives and partners from the ten Caribbean countries participating in the UN Environment Programme-implemented, Global Environment Facility-funded Integrating Water, Land and Ecosystems Management in Caribbean Small Island Developing States (UNEP GEF IWEco) Project will meet in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, from 18th - 20th July 2022, for the Project’s 6th Regional Project Steering Committee Meeting (RPSC 6).


The IWEco Project aims to contribute to the preservation of Caribbean ecosystems that are of global significance and the sustainability of livelihoods through the application of existing proven technologies and approaches that are appropriate for small island developing states through improved fresh and coastal water resources management, sustainable land management and sustainable forest management that also seek to enhance resilience of socio-ecological systems to the impacts of climate change.


Project implementation began in September 2016 and is about to enter its final year. National and regional execution partners meeting at RPSC 6 will, in addition to reviewing the progress and challenges of the past year, be considering the best way forward as well as the sustainability of successes. The final year’s work plan is expected to be ambitious as each participating country seeks to ensure that it benefits as originally envisioned.


Regional activities meant to help build capacity amongst the ten Small Island Developing States (SIDS) participating (Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, and Trinidad & Tobago) have all gained momentum in the last year. These have been coordinated by IWEco’s many regional executing partners: the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the Secretariat to the Cartagena Convention, the UNDP GEF Small Grants Programme and the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI).  


They include: the strengthening of environmental monitoring through the provision of training and equipment acquisition for nominated laboratories; building consensus, political will and financial support for Integrated Water Resource Management at regional and national levels; enhancing sustainable livelihoods and socio-economic benefits for targeted communities; and advancing work towards the development of a Regional Environmental Monitoring Data Portal.


Meeting project objectives in the face of challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic has entailed significant adaptive management at all levels and this is the first face to face project meeting in more than three years. While virtual means have facilitated information exchange, training and technical-backstopping, project partners look forward to, and value the opportunity to, meet in person again. This meeting will in fact be a “blended” one as some participants will join online.


Trinidad and Tobago, which is hosting RSPC6, will, at the end of August 2022, be the first country to complete national activities led by the national executing agency, the Environmental Management Authority, and involving many partners from the public and private sectors as well as NGOs.  Meeting participants will have the opportunity to visit the pilot project sites that have been the focus of rehabilitation at the National Quarries Company Limited compound in Guaico on the first day of the meeting. 


Jan Betlem, IWEco’s Regional Project Coordinator, while acknowledging that there have been remarkable differences between countries in terms of project approach, commitment and ultimate results, has reflected: “Have we made progress in terms of increasing societies’ sustainability and all-inclusive, integrated development? I think so.  The project has shown that – if we are all willing to take action – successes can be noted in terms of inclusive, integrated, sustainable development and sound ecosystem management which supports greater resilience.”


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For more information contact:
Donna Sue Spencer | Communication Specialist | GEF IWEco Project
Email: donna.spencer@un.org 
URL: www.iweco.org | Fb: @caribbeaniweco 
UNEP Cartagena Convention | 14-20 Port Royal Street | Kingston, Jamaica