Building capacity related to Multilateral Environmental Agreements in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP MEAs 3)

The Caribbean

The Pitons (Saint Lucia)

The Caribbean’s diverse geography, which includes Small Island Developing States (SIDS), large ocean archipelagic nations, and continental countries, makes the region an outstanding global centre of biodiversity. The people and the economies of the Caribbean rely significantly on terrestrial and marine ecosystems for their livelihoods: farming, fishing, forestry, and tourism are all important economic sectors in the region and are heavily dependent on the wealth of plants, animals, and other natural resources. However, overexploitation and the deterioration of the Caribbean’s natural resources are clear and present threats not only to ecosystems, but also to the socio-economic wellbeing and sustainable development of the region and its people.

Poor agricultural practices such as indiscriminate land clearance and overgrazing are consistently linked to habitat loss and fragmentation. Land-based sources of pollution, including runoff of agricultural pesticides and fertilizers, contribute to the degradation of mangroves, coral reefs, and other vital coastal and marine ecosystems. This is exacerbated by the existential threat that global climate change poses for SIDS and low-lying coastal countries.

During ACP MEAs 2, Caribbean countries drafted a regional biodiversity strategy whose central vision is that: "the Caribbean’s rich biodiversity and natural heritage is conserved and used sustainably to support economic development and sustainable livelihoods for the well-being and benefit of Caribbean people". ACP MEAs 3 activities in the Caribbean contribute directly to achievement of the strategy's key objectives, delivering scalable and replicable examples of good practices in mainstreaming responsible pesticide management and ecosystems-based approaches into agriculture, with an overarching emphasis on sustainable livelihoods and climate resilience.

The programme focuses on forestry and agroforestry, conservation of agricultural biodiversity, pesticide control and responsible use, and gender-sensitive sustainable development of the cocoa sector. Saint Lucia is the focal country for ACP MEAs 3 in the Caribbean. The programme’s success stories, good practices and lessons learned will be shared and scaled out across the region, and in particular to Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The work will be achieved through strong collaboration with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States. FAO’s activities under ACP MEAs 3 directly contribute to implementation of the draft CARICOM Biodiversity Strategy, which was developed under ACP MEAs 2.