CASTRIES, St Lucia -- Stakeholder consultations resumed on Thursday on moves towards further sustaining or enhancing marine managed areas and their associated livelihoods in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
This is being facilitated through the Eastern Caribbean Marine Managed Areas Network (ECMMAN) project’s livelihoods component, which is implemented by the OECS Commission in collaboration with the German government and coordinated by The Nature Conservancy.
The OECS Commission is spearheading a series of follow up meetings with stakeholders of Marine Managed Areas in the OECS, starting with St Vincent and the Grenadines. The meetings are to assess the status of the socio-economic and management-effectiveness of the targeted marine managed areas of the Tobago Cays Marine Park and south coast areas in St Vincent, the Point Sables area in Saint Lucia, the northeast area in Antigua, specific areas of Barbuda and marine managed areas of interest in Grenada.
Joan Norville, speaking on behalf of the OECS Commission, said the updates on the socio economic and management effectiveness assessments will guide the implementation of selected projects to further preserve the targeted marine managed areas and associated livelihoods. She added that enhanced marine managed areas contribute to sustained livelihoods, provision of community and family needs as well as economic development.
A livelihoods support fund (LSF) has been established under the ECMMAN project. The LSF is a small grants facility aimed at assisting coastal communities to undertake actions in support of sustainable livelihood programmes and enterprises. Priority will be given to livelihood activities that will impact positively on the identified marine managed areas. The fund also considers applications from individuals, small and micro-businesses, and groups.
The small grants fund is to finance interventions that will successfully demonstrate innovative and sustainable livelihood opportunities within coastal communities, and impact positively on the coastal resources.
The objective of the LSF is to support the undertaking of livelihood activities and micro-enterprises that would impact positively on marine managed areas. This provision recognizes that not all stakeholders in the areas targeted may have access to adequate financing in order to capitalize on their existing or new livelihoods. The LSF will therefore assist in the building and strengthening of the livelihoods assets of the potential beneficiaries.
The OECS Commission (formerly the OECS Secretariat), is currently soliciting applications from eligible individuals, businesses and groups/organizations under its LSF facility in support of sustainable livelihoods initiatives in the following member states -- Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada and St Vincent. August 29 is the deadline for submitting applications.
Interested parties are advised to contact their protected areas management authorities, fisheries divisions and other relevant agencies in these member states for more information on the livelihoods support fund.