Washington, D.C., September 7th, 2021 – The Caribbean Biodiversity Fund (CBF) has announced $1.9 million in support to The Ocean Foundation (TOF) to focus on coastal enhancement activities in Cuba and the Dominican Republic. The CBF’s Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) grant program focuses on projects that use biodiversity and ecosystem services to help coastal communities adapt to climate change, reduce disaster risk, and build resilient ecosystems. The EbA program is co-financed by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety through KfW.
The grant is the largest single grant in TOF’s history and builds upon the foundation of work carried out by TOF’s CariMar and Blue Resilience Initiatives, which have spent the past decade focused on enhancing climate resilience throughout the Caribbean region. TOF is also one of the longest running U.S. environmental nonprofits operating in Cuba.
Cuba and the Dominican Republic share many coastal species and habitats that are threatened by climate change. Sea level rise, coral bleaching and disease, and an exponential increase in strandings from sargassum algae are detrimental problems for both nations. Through this project, both countries will share nature-based solutions that have proved to be effective in the region.
“Cuba and the Dominican Republic are the two largest island countries in the Caribbean and share a common history and dependence on the ocean for fisheries, tourism and coastal protection. Through the generosity and vision of CBF they will be able to work together on innovative solutions to building resilience for their vibrant coastal communities.”Fernando Bretos | Program Officer, The Ocean Foundation
In Cuba, projects made possible from this grant include working with the Cuban Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment to restore hundreds of acres of mangrove habitat and engaging Guanahacabibes National Park staff in upscaling efforts to restore reef building corals and restore flow to mangrove ecosystems. In Jardines de la Reina National Park, TOF and the University of Havana will initiate a new coral restoration project while continuing our decades-long work in monitoring coral health.
Mark J. Spalding, President of The Ocean Foundation, affirmed that “we are honored and encouraged by the CBF’s recognition of our work in the Caribbean region. This grant will allow TOF and our partners to build local capacity in support of resilience to face the coming climate change enhanced storms, ensure greater food security, and maintain key nature tourism values – improving the blue economy and creating jobs – thus making the lives of those who live in Cuba and the D.R. safer and healthier.”
In the Dominican Republic, TOF will work with SECORE International to replant corals onto reefs at Bayahibe near Parque del Este National Park using new sexual propagation techniques that will help them withstand bleaching and disease. This project also expands upon TOF’s existing partnership with Grogenics to transform nuisance sargassum into compost for use by agricultural communities — removing the need for expensive petroleum-based fertilizers that contribute to nutrient pollution and degrade coastal ecosystems.
The Ocean Foundation is thrilled to start this three-year effort intended as an exchange between scientists, practitioners, the tourism sector, and governments. We hope this effort delivers even more innovative ideas for building resilience against climate change for the two largest countries of the Caribbean.
About The Ocean Foundation
As the only community foundation for the ocean, The Ocean Foundation’s 501(c)(3) mission is to support, strengthen, and promote those organizations dedicated to reversing the trend of destruction of ocean environments around the world. We focus our collective expertise on emerging threats in order to generate cutting edge solutions and better strategies for implementation.
About the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund
Established in 2012, the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund (CBF) is the realization of a bold vision to create reliable, long-term funding for conservation and sustainable development in the Caribbean region. The CBF and a group of National Conservation Trust Funds (NCTFs) together form the Caribbean Sustainable Finance Architecture.
About SECORE International
SECORE International’s mission is to create and share the tools and technologies to sustainably restore coral reefs worldwide. Together with partners, Secore International initiated the Global Coral Restoration Program in 2017 to accelerate the development of new tools, methods and strategies with a focus on increasing the efficiency of restoration actions and integration of resilience enhancement strategies as they become available.
Grogenics’ mission is to conserve the diversity and abundance of marine life. They do this by addressing a myriad of concerns for coastal communities by harvesting the sargassum at sea before it reaches shores. Grogenics’ organic compost restores living soils by putting massive amounts of carbon back into soil and plants. By implementing regenerative practices, the end goal is to capture several metric tons of carbon dioxide that will generate extra income for the farmers or hotel industries through carbon offsets.