In May 2019, thirty-five natural resource professionals representing ten countries and thirty agencies gathered in Rodney Bay, St. Lucia to attend an ecosystem services workshop organized by The Nature Conservancy’s Mapping Ocean Wealth team. The workshop was designed to improve participants’ understanding of ecosystem services and how to incorporate ecosystem services data into policy, coastal master planning, and marine spatial planning (MSP) in the Eastern Caribbean.
Under the Caribbean Regional Oceanscape Project (CROP), with support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) ,the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Commission (OECSC), engaged TNC to develop ecosystem service models for five countries in the Eastern Caribbean using methodologies developed under its Mapping Ocean Wealth initiative, and to develop training and resources to improve data access for decision-makers. This workshop kicked off the training, data gathering, and stakeholder engagement component of the project, which will run through 2021.
Outcomes of the workshop included:
- Improved participant understanding of CROP and the role of the Mapping Ocean Wealth Project within CROP
- Improved participant understanding of ES, ES assessments, and the benefits of including ES in policy and planning
- Improved participant understanding of existing MOW tools and ES assessments
- Improved TNC understanding of regional data sources, existing assessments, and regional priorities, especially the importance of wildlife viewing and boating as key nature-dependent tourism activities
- Identification of key expert advisors in the region to provide feedback on project deliverables
This workshop was co-hosted by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) based on the many synergies between the MOW subcomponent of the CROP and the Integrating Water, Land and Ecosystems Management in Caribbean Small Island Developing States (IWEco) project.
More information on this project can be found here.
Photo credits: Kate Longley-Wood/TNC, Cherie Wagner/TNC