MANAGUA, Nicaragua -- Over thirty scientific and technical experts from the wider Caribbean will meet in Managua, Nicaragua from June 10-13 to discuss current and emerging pollution issues for the region.
This meeting of the second scientific technical and advisory committee (2nd STAC) for the protocol concerning pollution from land-based sources and activities (LBS Protocol) is being organized by the Secretariat to the Cartagena Convention for the Protection and Development of the Caribbean Sea based in Kingston, Jamaica, with financial support from the GEF-funded Caribbean Regional Fund for Wastewater Management Project (CReW).
It will review the achievements of the pollution sub-programme of UNEP’s Caribbean Environment Programme for 2013-2014 and discuss the draft work-plan and budget for the 2015-2016 biennium.
Experts will review the progress made in the implementation of the decisions of the first meeting of the contracting parties to the LBS Protocol and twelfth meeting of the contracting parties to the Cartagena Convention held in 2012.
Some of the main items for discussion include:
• Development of the first state of marine environment report for the Caribbean Sea;
• Agreement on new projects and activities for addressing marine litter, nutrients and wastewater in the wider Caribbean region.
• Identification of capacity building and training needs for monitoring and assessment of pollution sources, impacts and trends; and
• Improving public awareness and outreach on the impact of pollution on human health and the environment;
According to Christopher Corbin, programme officer with responsibility for the organization of the meeting, “More countries have committed to the ratification and implementation of the LBS Protocol; control and reduction of marine pollution remains a very high priority given its impacts on human health and economic development.”
According to Corbin, “Over 75% of sewage continues to enter the Caribbean Sea untreated in addition to agro-chemical and sediment run-off, the latter of which is approximated at over 300 million tonnes of top soil per year, all of which continue to negatively impact coral reefs and coastal fisheries”.
He emphasized that the loss of coral reefs results is approximately US310 million in annual revenue loss from the fisheries sector alone, which could directly and indirectly affect the livelihoods of over 750,000 people.
Eleven countries: Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, Dominican Republic, France, Grenada, Guyana, Panama, Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago and the United States are contracting parties to the LBS Protocol and are all expected to participate. The meeting will discuss how to encourage ratification of the LBS Protocol by the remaining countries in the region.
The draft work plan along with technical recommendations from the meeting will be presented to the second meeting of contracting parties to the LBS Protocol for their approval in November, 2014.
This technical workshop will be preceded by a one and half day regional workshop organized by the World Bank's Global Partnership for Oceans (GPO) and UNEP CAR/RCU CEP. Participating countries will present the national context of marine pollution issues determined through the continuation of data collection and analysis of the quality of water from selected countries of the wider Caribbean region. This data collection will inform a water quality management report for the region.
Recommendations from this workshop are expected to be further discussed at the LBS STAC for possible incorporation into the work programme of UNEP CEP’s sub-programme on pollution prevention.