Internet notebook about my work: deep listening to facilitate positive change


Monday 3 November 2008

NBSAP experiences from the Caribbean

In this CBD workshop participants are sharing experiences with formulating, implementing and mainstreaming National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans. This is what I picked up from one and a half day country presentations.

Ninotchka Tjin Kong Poek (Ministry of Labour, Technology Development and Environment) describes the experiences with the formulation and implementation and identifies some major challenges with regard to participation
• who leads the process to get participation of lawmakers?
• how to deal with the fact that NGOs not always properly represent local communities?
• how to deal with ignorance about biotechnology?

Dominique Saheed (Environment Protection Agency) shared lessons learned from the consultative process of NBSAP 1 to take into account when form ulating NBSAP 2:
• Multidisciplinary team
• Identify priority progr areas, e.g. mainstreaming or climate change
• Use high level advocates for getting financial compensation to keep the forest standing

Trinidad and Tobago
Robin Cross (Environment Management Authority) explained that the NBSAP process focused on early buy in and a large investment in the preparation through preparatory processes. Stakeholder involvement and management was central in the process. The main lesson learned were the benefits of participation:
• Shared sense of urgency and vision
• Increased goodwill and mutual trust among stakeholders
• Improved information sharing and knowledge networking
• First steps towards positive change.

St Lucia
Anita James (Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Environment) shared lessons learned that will be taken into account when updating the NBSAP:
• Formulating clear targets to be met
• Mobilizing commitment as a driving force behind the implementation
• Knowledge and management sharing
• Mainstreaming BD into other sectors, e.g. through awards, community forrestry.

Andrea Donaldson and Ava Tomlinson (National Environmental Planning Agency)described the NBSAP process, including the development of brochures, posters, cartoons to raise awareness for a biodiversity vision, workshops for sectors and public consultations with local stakeholders. Implementation through projects, but only 40% of the project qualified for funding. Challenges are integration, mainstreaming, enforcement, training and strategic communication.

Bradley Guy (Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Environment) shared the various BD challenges to the island, e.g. deforestation, overgrazing, pollution, inappropriate legal frameworks, biotechnology risks etc. Specific challenges in day to day practice are:
• knowledge sharing
• capacity development
• equitable sharing of benefits
• climate change.

St Kitts and Nevis
Ashton Stanley (Department of Agriculture) explained that his country deals with biodiversity through EIA and other legislation, e.g. the national physical development plan, national environmental strategy and the project Protected Areas and Associated Livelihoods. The NBSAP is used to develop numerous projects and initiatives.

Stacy Lubin-Gray (Ministry of Environment) explained that the consultative NBSAP process raised awareness on the relation between biodiversity and livelihoods on the various islands. Ten years after the formulation major restraints are that:
• NBSAP is not a government priority
• Human resources are lacking
• Proper institutional framework is lacking
• Most regulations and plans stay in draft form.

St Vincent and the Grenadines
Anthony Simon and Glenray Gaymes (Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry) explained that intersectoral integration of biodiversity is basically done through personal relationships. There is a succesful forestry program with marihuana farmers to look into alternative livelihoods. Much effort goes into research and data collection on species (parrots, black snakes and frogs). Awareness raising is done through in schools. Enforcement and compliance is a challenge because of lack of effective legal frameworks. Training and funding are problematic. Climate change through more and heavier tropical storms is a new major threat.

Antigua and Barbuda
Orvin Paige (Environmental Department) shared the experiences of an economic transition from a focus on agriculture to a focus on tourism and the reflection of this reality in the goals NBSAP. Climate change brings more hurricanes and rainfall, but still water shortage and droughts are a major problem. Skills and competences are another challenge. There was poor attendance at NBSAP consultations and lack of political will to drive effective implementation. The government cannot do it alone, it needs grassroot awareness and support.

Dalia Salabarria Fernandez (Ministry of Environment) presented the experiences since the nineties at various levels: consultative formulation, mainstreaming through workshops and programs. Over time it led to the need to update the NBSAP with new priorities, new thematic areas, more realistic goals and a shorter list of actions. Awareness is raised through a TV Course "University for all", NGOs, universities and a National Strategy for Environmental Education. A central driver is the Global Environmental Citizenship Project (UNEP).

Joseph Ronald Toussaint (Ministry of Environment) explained of the current process to formulate the NBSAP in a difficult political situation with many setbacks over the years. Among the challenges are to get commitment from major NGOs, capacity development and better understanding of basic concepts. At the moment the 2010 targets offer an opportunity to finetune the NBSAP process.

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