Mexico, OAS Launch Project to Help Caribbean Reefs and Coastal Management

18 October 2012: The Organization of American States (OAS) and the Government of Mexico announced joint implementation of a project aiming to improve the capacity of Caribbean countries to value and measure ecosystem services of coral reefs and to strengthen coastal zone management systems.

ReefFix also seeks to complement existing initiatives to protect the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System (MBRS) off the shores of Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico.

The announcement was made 18 October 2012, at OAS Headquarters in Washington, DC, US, by Mexico's Permanent Representative to the OAS, Joel Hernández, and OAS Executive Secretary for Integral Development, Jorge Saggiante.

Titled "ReefFix: An Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) Ecosystem Services Valuation and Capacity Building Project for the Caribbean," the project builds on a prior project supported by the Government of Chile to enhance the technical capacity of Caribbean nations to collect and manage data on their Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

The project has three principal components: generating data on the value of ecosystem services of selected reefs; training civil society, stakeholders in coastal communities, and government officials in ecosystem valuation methodologies and MPA management; and disseminating lessons learned to the rest of the Americas.

In his remarks during the official announcement, Saggiante underscored the triangular nature of the cooperation project, and the hope that it will serve as a model for other such projects under OAS auspices.

Attending the announcement were Permanent Representatives to the OAS from several countries interested in participating in the project, including Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago.

ReefFix is being undertaken under the framework of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the OAS and the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation (AMEXCID).

Source: Biodiversity Policy & Practice