Historic First Caribbean Challenge Initiative Council Meeting
Minister of Environment co-chairs momentous Assembly
The Hon. Kenred Dorsett, Minister of Environment and Housing travelled to Saint Lucia to co-chair the historic first Caribbean Challenge Initiative Council Meeting. The CCI first Council Meeting was held on Friday, September 23. The CCI is comprised of Caribbean Governments determined to safeguard their marine and coastal resources. Minister Dorsett also represented The Bahamas at the 4th Annual Caribbean Marine Biodiversity Fund Meeting on the island which ran from on September 19 – 22.
The CCI was established eight years ago but Friday marked its groundbreaking Council Meeting.
“This first Council Meeting in which we will develop a strategic plan to move forward, demonstrates the tremendous strides that participating countries have made and underscores the commitment of each of our respective Governments in preserving our natural marine resources,” said Minister Dorsett.
“Ocean conservation is about people, livelihoods and our survival,” he said.
In 2014, The Bahamas became the first Caribbean Challenge Initiative country to establish a protected areas fund.
The CCI coalition of governments and territories in 2013, signed a CCI Leaders Declaration of their commitment to the protection and conservation of 20 percent of their marine and coastal resources by the year 2020.
“To date we have expanded our marine network to include 11.1 million acres of new marine areas in The Bahamas with the clear objective of meeting the 20/20 goal” added Minster Dorsett.
Participants at the Council Meeting formulated a strategic plan to move forward focusing on Barriers to Expansion and their Solution; Island Commitments and the SDGs; Achieving CCI Goals and Expanding the CCI Membership.
The CCI was launched in 2008 with four countries, The Bahamas; Jamaica; St. Vincent and Grenadines and Dominican Republic. Since this time, British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico; Grenada and U.S. Virgin Islands have joined the Initiative to take collaborative action to protect marine and coastal areas in each respective nation.
The CBF was established in 2012 as a regional endowment fund for the protection and conservation of environmental protected lands in participating countries including The Bahamas and observer countries.