The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Nature Conservancy (TNC) are the two largest global NGOs which have the conservation and protection of biological resources as their core role. Together they have collaborated on the Biodiversity and Protected Area Management Programme (BIOPAMA) for African, Pacific and Caribbean (ACP) states, the main aim of which is to establish a database on Protected Areas (PAs).
This Scientific Forum, which was held between February 19 – 21st, 2014 in St. Lucia, was intended to familiarise the Caribbean sub-region on the objectives of the BIOPAMA programme and to inform on its utility by providing information on available tools for the management of protected areas.
Two representatives from the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources attended the Scientific Forum. They included Mr. Julius Smith, Environmental Biologist in the Environmental Policy and Planning Division, along with Rhona Jitta, Assistant Conservator of Forests (Ag.), Forestry Division.
The Forum provided an opportunity for the IUCN/TNC to assess the capabilities of the Caribbean States in terms of Protected Area management, monitoring and enforcement as well as their availability to participate in the BIOPAMA initiative. The second part of the Forum focused on working group sessions that sought to get the participants to formulate projects that would assist BIOPAMA in carrying out its mandate.
These sessions sought to solicit information from Caribbean states regarding how data is currently being used, existing data gaps, impediments to the acquisition of data, the accessibility of available data and the administrative bottlenecks to data management as well as decision making based on the use of geospatial data.