Caribbean nations meet to build partnerships for marine ecosystem management

As part of a Caribbean-wide project to encourage sustainable development through integrated watershed and marine ecosystem-based management, representatives of more than 20 nations met in Miami (US) in March to build regional partnerships with these goals in mind. The meeting – titled the “White Water to Blue Water (WW2BW) Partnership Conference” and arising from a regional initiative of the same name – aimed to help Caribbean governments, NGOs, donors, and private industry find ways to address common challenges. Generated were partnerships to coordinate use of resources and improve communication among programs, including plans to rejuvenate an existing but largely dormant network for sharing knowledge among Caribbean MPA managers (CaMPAM).

Sponsored by several national and international governmental institutions, the meeting featured sessions on the management of fisheries, tourism, and marine transportation. “You cannot have sustainable development in the Caribbean without sustainable watershed and marine ecosystem management,” said meeting co-chair Tom Laughlin of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of International Affairs, a WW2BW sponsor. Laughlin said the Caribbean already has many organizations that are working independently to address coastal and marine issues; the meeting was designed to network such efforts and identify gaps.

Among the dozens of partnerships fostered by the WW2BW meeting were agreements on subjects as varied as identifying potential MPAs, developing bilateral oil-spill response agreements, and consolidating existing sustainable tourism certification initiatives in the region. WW2BW organizers say the Caribbean effort could provide a model for future initiatives in Africa and the South Pacific. To learn more, visit the WW2BW website at

For more information:
Tom Laughlin, Office of International Affairs, NOAA, 14th and Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20230, USA. Tel: +1 202 482 6196; E-mail: