CARICOM Secretariat’s Message to mark World Biodiversity Day, 22 May 2022: “Building a shared future for all life”

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(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) – The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat joins the regional and international community in celebration of International Day for Biological Diversity, 2022 (IDB 2022). The region’s rich biodiversity remains the answer to several sustainable development challenges. From nature-based solutions to climate, health issues, food and water security, and sustainable livelihoods – biodiversity is the foundation upon which we can build back better.

As the region seeks to recover from the economic impacts of the COVID -19 pandemic, it is timely that as a Caribbean Community we re-examine our relationship with nature recognising that, despite all our advances we will always remain dependent on healthy and vibrant ecosystems.  National, regional and international policy responses and frameworks for biodiversity management in CARICOM countries continue to evolve.

A draft CARICOM Environmental and Natural Resources Policy Framework, currently under consideration by CARICOM Member States, will provide an enabling platform for acknowledging the vital role that land, air, water and oceans play in sustaining economic, social and environmental development of the Community. This along with the Draft Caribbean Biodiversity Strategy also under review by Member States outlines the vision to conserve and sustainably use the marine and terrestrial biodiversity in the Caribbean basin, including their access and benefits arising of the use of genetic resources.

Progress in all fronts must be realized through a broad alliance of people, governments, civil society and the private sector and solutions must ensure the integration of cross-sectoral strategies and actions to achieve the future we want for present and future generations, and a world living in harmony with nature.

As part of the solution, we continue to strengthen the capacity of national governments to comply with Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) and so to improve countries’ management of their environment and natural resources. Building the capacity and improving participation by our region’s negotiators in the various Conference of Parties processes is critical.

In the international policy arena, CARICOM countries are committed to promoting an urgency of action at the highest levels in support of a post-2020 biodiversity framework that takes into consideration the special vulnerabilities of Small Island and Low-lying Coastal Developing States (SIDS) will contribute to the Caribbean region’s vision for biodiversity. With support from the European Commission, Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP) and the United Nations Environment Program, the long-term intended impact of the Programme on Capacity Building related to Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) in ACP countries is to empower key stakeholders to address environmental challenges and to reap the benefits of improved environmental management at the national and regional levels.  

As the international community prepares to adopt a new global biodiversity framework, based on negotiations that are taking place leading up to the UN Biodiversity Conference – COP15, the CARICOM Secretariat supports coordinated efforts of participatory processes drawing upon insights from activities that highlight the uniqueness of the Region as Caribbean Small Island and Low-lying Coastal Developing States (SIDS).  It is necessary to increase understanding and knowledge from subject matter experts within and outside the region, to share information relevant to biodiversity management in CARICOM and the negotiation of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. 

 Our current reality sets a challenge before us, which is well known as we continue to grapple with our economic, social and environmental vulnerabilities. As we observe International Day for Biological Diversity, let us remember that in “building a shared future for all life on earth.” we must continue to build momentum and facilitate exchanges and discussions among Member States, regional and international partners promoting the urgency of action that contributes to the re-shaping of the Caribbean region’s vision for biodiversity.

The need to mainstream biodiversity in economic sectors given the Region’s dependence on natural resources for livelihoods and well-being is critical.  The need to have strong and resilient ecosystems is also a necessity given our exposure to disruption and environmental disasters, of communities in the region. The Caribbean Community therefore echoes the calls for action for more ecosystem-based solutions for addressing biodiversity loss, climate change and land degradation simultaneously.

Active and informed youth participation is part of the process of empowerment and knowledge building in the Community. As a significant step in promoting a place for youth in decision-making on biodiversity-related issues, the Secretariat invites young persons to participate in the 2022 International day for Biological Diversity Youth Competition.

  • Caribbean youth can submit videos focusing on the IDB 2022 theme and topic: “Building a shared future for all life”; and national and regional youth priorities for the Global Biodiversity Framework
  • Ages 18 to 35 Caribbean nationals involved in environmental and biodiversity related activities
  • Audio-visual video submissions no more than 5 minutes long, 1 submission per individual
  • Criteria: quality, creativity, logical solution that addresses theme and topic
  • Prizes will be awarded to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners. 1st Place Award: fully funded participation at the Open-Ended Working Group Session in Nairobi, Kenya;  United Nations Convention for Biological Diversity Fifteenth Conference of Parties (COP15);  and CARICOM negotiators preparatory meetings training workshops
  • Submit entries by the deadline of 31 May 2022 to acp.meas.contest@gmail.com.

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