Conference of Parties for the Cartagena Convention will meet in Roatan, Honduras to address marine environmental issues 

Regional Experts look forward to finding solutions for common challenges in the Wider Caribbean Region 

Kingston, Jamaica. May 31, 2019.  Efforts to safeguard the coastal and marine environment in the Wider Caribbean Region will take centre stage from June 3-6, 2019 when Contracting Parties to the Cartagena Convention and its Protocols meet in Roatán, Honduras. The meetings will coincide with the commemoration of World Environment Day on June 5 which is spearheaded by the United Nations Environment Programme. The Honduran Government will also host the Blue Economy Summit on June 7 to encourage the sustainable use of ocean resources in the region through innovation and technology, as well as, carry out activities to commemorate World Oceans Day on June 8.   

The Secretariat to the Convention, based in Jamaica, convenes its Conference of Parties (COP) Meetings every two years to make key decisions on its work. Discussions during the 15th COP to the Convention will review the status of activities undertaken by the Secretariat and Contracting Parties in the last biennium and approve the 2019-2020 work plan which calls for greater regional cooperation, participation and action to respond to pollution and marine biodiversity loss. Delegates participating in the 4th Meeting of Parties to the Protocol on Pollution from Land-Based Sources and Activities (LBS or Pollution Protocol) will review, among other issues, the progress made to address pollution from sewage, the status of plastic bag and Styrofoam bans in the region, and the development of the region’s first state of marine pollution report. Discussions during the 10th Meeting of Parties to the Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife Protocol (SPAW or Biodiversity Protocol) will emphasize the importance of conserving coral reefs and mangroves, the growing problem of ocean acidification and the preservation of Marine Protected Areas and Specially Protected Species which are essential to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.  The continued impacts of Sargassum on the region will also be assessed. During these meetings, high-level delegates from the United Nations Environment Programme Head Quarters in Kenya and its Regional Office in Panama will join top officials in the Honduran Government, representatives from the Convention’s Regional Activity Centres (RACs) and thirty-eight participants from 26 countries. In addition, over thirty Observers, including partner agencies and non-governmental organizations, are expected to attend and participate in discussions.

The Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region (WCR), known as the Cartagena Convention, was ratified in 1986 to promote the protection and development of the marine environment in the WCR. Since then, it has been adopted by 26 countries. In 2018, Honduras became the most recent country to ratify the Convention and its three Protocols. What are our delegates looking forward to at these Meetings?

1. “ I look forward to the adoption of the SOCAR [Report of the Working Group on Environmental Monitoring and Assessment] and the discussion to be engaged in on this seminal work… It is my hope that the mandate of the Monitoring and Assessment Group would be augmented to increase its significance in the development of the science-based approach to the decision making of the Convention.” – Dr. Linroy Christian, Antigua and Barbuda  2. Translation: “As part of my expectations I am convinced that these meetings are the ideal fora  to analyze and share experiences….we have the opportunity to address common environmental problems identified in the región, analize them and propose posible solutions, [by] making the best decisions” – Marino Abrego, Panama 3. “The TCI delegate expects to see the accomplishments/achievements, challenges and    opportunities and updates of the Convention and Protocols, with the aim of using it as guidance in potential amendments to local laws (Ordinances and Regulations), with the ultimate goal of achieving sustainability of the ecosystems.”- Eric Salamanca, Turks and Caicos  4. “The Netherlands hopes that there will be further additions to the SPAW Annexes and the SPAW list of Protected Areas… the revitalization of the various Ad Hoc Working Groups under the SPAW Protocol and the formation of a group to address the growing Sargassum problem, [and] that the SPAW COP will strongly emphasize to all Parties the importance of compliance with the requirements of the SPAW Protocol. Without that the Protocol remains an empty letter.” – Paul Hoetjes, Caribbean Netherlands