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The use of marine managed areas (MMA) has become increasingly popular in the Wider Caribbean as a tool for costal resources management. If rightly designed and managed, they can assist to conserve marine biodiversity, reduce overfishing and inadequate tourism practices, decrease user conflicts, and provide economic alternatives to local coastal communities, while meeting international conservation commitments of governments. This has contributed to substantial knowledge gained on optimal site selection and design, successful outreach approaches, effective management strategies, and appropriate methods to evaluate their effectiveness. Limited information exchanges on lessons learned continue to constrain informed decision-making due to the geographic, socioeconomic, and cultural complexities of the Caribbean region. At the same time, communication among professionals has become progressively more vital given the increasing scientific interest in the examination of biophysical connectivity across the region. As MPAs (or more accurately, MMAs) continue to be proposed and implemented, the efficient exchange of information is now more critical than ever. CaMPAM provides a platform for capacity building through training activities, communication tools and grant awarding to expedite transfer of knowledge and lessons learned as well as financial resources across the Wider Caribbean region.

About CaMPAM

CaMPAM was created in 1997 under the framework of the UN Environment Program’s Caribbean Environment Programme (UNEP-CEP) and its Specially Protected Area and Wildlife (SPAW) Protocol of the Cartagena Convention. Since then, it has received the support of governments, private foundations, international donors and individual experts. This initiative brings together MPA researchers, administrators, managers, and educators from governmental and non-governmental organizations as well as the private sector in an inclusive network to exchange ideas and lessons learned through a variety of mechanisms. CaMPAM is guided by UNEP-CEP’s SPAW subprogramme which identifies strategic objectives in consultation with the SPAW parties and, in cooperation with its Regional Activity Center (SPAW-RAC). It provides leadership and resources for the network and its capacity building program. A team of mentors from the region is also consulted as they comprise collaborators, MPA practitioners and marine conservation scientists. Georgina Bustamante (bio) has served as the CaMPAM coordinator since 2008, and has contributed to several of the training and communication activities.

Most of CaMPAM activities are implemented on a project-basis modality. They depend on the resources available, from both, government and non-government organizations interested in this program and the objectives, and willing to partner with CaMPAM in selected activities.

CaMPAM since 2010

Launched in 2008 with th support of The Nature Conservancy, the Caribbean Challenge is a large-scale initiative advocated by a number of governments and regional and international organizations which aims to protect 20% of the marine and coastal habitats by 2020 of participating Caribbean countries , including The Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. In 2010-2013 UNEP-CEP with funding received from the Directorate General for Development Cooperation of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs implemented through CaMPAM the project "Regional support for the Caribbean Challenge initiative: Networking, consolidation and regional coordination of MPA management" to support countries with SPAW Protocol and Caribbean Challenge objectives. The project strengthen linkages with the Global Island Network (GLISPA) and other SIDS efforts. In 2016, as a continuation of this support, the Directorate awarded UNEP-CEP another grant to promote wider application of the ecosystem-based approach around MPAs and disseminate a decision-support system with that include training, pilot projects (first in the Dominican Republic), and the improvement of CaMPAM capacity building and information activities .

In addition, The Nature Conservancy requested UNEP-CEP to coordinate a medium-sized grant program for the 6 islands associated with the Eastern Caribbean Marine Managed Area Network (ECMMAN). As a result, the CaMPAM-ECMMAN Small Grant Program has being implemented since January 2014, administered by UNEP-CEP’s Regional Activity Center as part of CaMPAM activities.

Furthermore, the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute has collaborated with UNEP-CEP in CaMPAM activities since 2004, hosting its website, electronic forum and MPA database, and managing numerous projects of common interest, including the annual MPA sessions with the GCFI conference. GCFI coordinates a separate MPA program in partnership with NOAA to implement NOAA’s Caribbean Coral Reef Conservation Program. CaMPAM program is implemented through a number of tools, that adapt in scope, geography and focus to the changing needs of the MPA Caribbean community. These needs are measured through course evaluations by participants and instructors; the input of collaborators during course design, small grant projects implementation and reports; meetings with SPAW Parties, academics, marine conservation experts, marine managed area staff and fishers; individual surveys and the electronic network (via dozens of messages posted each month by members).

The CaMPAM tools are, in particular:

CaMPAM tools

Communications and outreach

Communications is at the core of the CaMPAM mission. Through a number of approaches, CaMPAM has developed a number of tools to ensure that information from members is adequately disseminated and yet unobtrusive. CaMPAM communication tools include an email list and forum that disseminates information relevant to MPA scientists and practitioners such as grants and jobs opportunities; requests of information; conference announcements; new web sites; webinars; new reports, books and tools; calls for proposals; research information; emerging issues, etc. CaMPAM List also disseminates messages from other relevant Internet Lists, web sites and newsletters (GLISPA Discuss, Caribbean Assessment, IRF News, WCPA, MedPAN, WHSR, NTNC, CATS, individual MPAs, GCFI, INVEMAR, MAR Fund, and many others) as appropriate. Messages sent to CaMPAM List are reviewed and authorized by the moderator before been posted, and remain archived and readily accessible to subscribers. In addition, CaMPAM coordinates and sponsors sessions and workshops at the Annual Meetings of the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute, where fishers and MPA managers discuss emerging issues, present papers and get exposed to the latest news on marine science in the Wider Caribbean and the world.

The Training of Trainers

FWCThe program started in 1998 with the preparation of the Manual It was updated in 2000 and 2010, and it is available in English, Spanish and French. It comprises 8 modules on Caribbean MPA planning, stakeholder participation, management, research, monitoring and regional policy, along with communication and teaching skills. For more information, you can access the program's 2007 independent assessment, and the reports of the 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2015 regional courses.

The training of trainers courses are held every 1-3 years within the region alternating between English and Spanish speaking locations taught in the language of the host country (one short version was imparted in French in Guadeloupe on 2011). Individuals selected for the course are required to develop follow-up training activities within their home countries, whose proposals are reviewed collectively during the regional course. Each country receives a small grant to support the local activity with a view to facilitate the multiplying effect of the training of trainers. The following courses were implemented: 1999, 2010 and 2016 (in Dominican Republic), 2002 (in St. Lucia), 2004 and 2006 (in the Florida Keys, USA), 2007 (in Quintana Roo, Mexico), 2009 (in Tobago Island, Trinidad and Tobago), 2011 (in Belize), 2011 (in Guadeloupe), 2015 (in Grenada).

Reserva Pesquera Os Miñarzos/ WWF

España crea su primera área marina protegida en El Cachucho, Ribadesella, Asturias

Areas marinas protegidas, - Campaña nacional de Marviva, Costa Rica

Protection of blue whale, WWF-Chile

Voces en el Manejo (Ecuador)

The MPA Database

CaMPAMDatabaseThe purpose of the CaMPAM database is to provide a resource detailing the numerous marine protected areas in the region, and to make that resource accessible to those interested in examining a number of variables. The database is a standardized repository of detailed information for Caribbean MPAs and is a resource for producing regional analyses. It is comprised of 60 fields focusing on identity, legal, biophysical and management parameters. Maps and a template for outlining management plans are included. Data are entered by the MPA management authority or authorized person and can be updated. Some MPAs with very limited data (name, location, extension) were included with the data of the World Database of Protected Area (with less fields than CaMPAM’s regional). The UNEP-CEP has discussed and continue to work other MPA databases such as the WDPA (managed by UNEP-WCMC and IUCN), the Caribbean Protected Areas Gateway (hosted by the University of West Indies and supported by the BIOPAMA programme coordinated by IUCN) and Caribnode (managed by The Nature Conservancy)  to collaborate and make CaMPAM MPA Database more useful to the region’s MPA community.

The Database is continuously populated and its relevance and usefulness being currently (2016) assessed. We greatly appreciate the contributions of MPA managers in making data available.

The Small Grants Fund

FlyFishingBelizeAs all CaMPAM activities, the program is coordinated by the SPAW Subrogramme of UNEP-CEP and its Regional Activity Center (SPAW-RAC) and funded by different donors. GCFI and SPAW-RAC have administered the Small Grants Program aiming at providing financial resources and technical assistance to strengthen MPA management, promote sustainable MPA and fisheries practices, as well as alternative livelihoods for local communities. Grants have also been awarded to support the SPAW-Listed sites, enhance their management and for priority species of regional concern, including those of economic value, in collaboration with SPAW-RAC.

A novel aspect of the Small Grants Program is that it provides an opportunity for exchanges between countries, MPA sites and communities so that resource managers and marine users in the Caribbean region can share lessons learned and benefit from each other's experiences. The following section provides a summary of some of the projects and exchanges that have been achieved in recent years through the Small Grants Program.

In 2010-2012, the Program focused on the Insular Caribbean countries associated with the "Caribbean Challenge", funded by the Directorate General for Development Cooperation of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the SPAW-Listed MPAs. Since 2014, the CaMPAM-ECMMAN Small Grant Program has provided over US$200,000 per Eastern Caribbean country to implement 2-year long projects within their MPAs.

The CaMPAM Mentorship Program Project

The CaMPAM Mentorship Program for Caribbean MPA managers and practitioners started in 2013 with a consultation meeting with 8 senior marine resource professionals from around the Caribbean, including former trainess of the Training of trainers program. They are serving as mentors of junior MPA officers and assisting CaMPAM to guide the program. In mentoring programs, mentors demonstrate, explain and model while protégés (mentees) observe, question, explore and apply new skills. The primary goal of the CaMPAM Mentorship Program is to sustainably enhance MPA manager/practitioner competencies in the Wider Caribbean through the development of mentoring relationships that respond to common and emerging training, capacity building and technical assistance needs. Download a program fact sheet and the mentors' biographies. However, the team members are also invited to serve as instructors and exchange coordinators.

Networking beyond the Wider Caribbean

Since 2010, CaMPAM has been establishing links with other regional networks of MPA managers, including the MPA Network of the Atlantic Arc (MAIA) and the Mediterranean Protected Area Network (MedPAN). Exchanges during workshops and congress sessions have been held and ideas discussed on the need to develop transatlantic MPA managers exchanges. A paper on the commonalities was published (see Bustamante et al., 2014). Led by MedPan, an initiative for collaboration among regional networks of MPA managers is underway.