First Regional Capacity-Building Workshop held in the Caribbean

Bonn, 5 September 2016 – The CMS Secretariat, in co-operation with the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme (CEP), organized the first Caribbean regional accession workshop from 31 August to 2 September 2016 in Bridgetown, Barbados.  The workshop catered to countries that are not Parties to CMS, but could benefit from acceding to it.

The workshop included sessions on implementation, advice on the roles and responsibilities of National Focal Points (NFPs), and two field visits to a shorebird refuge and a sea turtle nesting beach. Its main focus was to emphasize the importance of the Caribbean for conserving biodiversity and migratory wildlife.

"The Workshop was received very well. Many of the participants expressed interest in joining the Convention. Particularly CEP based in Jamaica will follow-up with some of the countries on the process of accession", said Francisco Rilla Manta.

The Caribbean is an important pathway for migratory species and those species contribute to local income.  Whale and bird-watching, turtle nesting beaches and coral reefs attract tourists and may boost local economies. Caribbean fisheries also form a crucial part in bringing money to the region and sharks such as the Shortfin, Mako and Silky can help fisheries by regulating populations of other marine predators, allowing other prey populations to grow at healthy rates.

CMS addresses particular conservation needs of migratory species and promotes the involvement of local people when designing and implementing conservation strategies. The advantages to becoming a Party to CMS are plentiful. CMS facilitates access for Parties to a global platform of experts and other specialized working groups. CMS capacity-building initiatives aim to support Parties through training of NFPs and work to enhance the capacity of Non-Parties to implement CMS, should they join the Convention.

The scope for conserving migratory species in the Caribbean is great, and the motivation to do so is equally strong. However, this needs to happen in a coordinated and overarching manner through concerted action and international policy in order to be successful. Many migratory species provide crucial benefits to the people who share their homes and habitats. These benefits include a range of ecosystem services, whilst some animals are valuable for human consumption. By becoming a Party to CMS, States would protect both ecosystem services and their local fauna.

In conclusion, CMS, with CARICOM and the Caribbean Environment Programme, works to further advance the conservation status of migratory animals in the region by encouraging countries to become Parties. The Caribbean is an important region for biodiversity, and joining CMS could ensure that countries can adequately protect their wildlife and their bountiful marine resources.

The organizer of the workshop was Francisco Rilla, one of the longest-serving members of the CMS Secretariat, performing one of his last tasks for the Convention. After 11 years of service at the UNEP/CMS Secretariat, first as Information Officer and more recently as Capacity-building Officer, Francisco has left CMS and is now working as a Programme Officer in the International Governance Unit of the Division of Environmental Law and Conventions at the UNEP HQ in Nairobi. His colleagues in Bonn all wish him well in his new post.


UNEP article: Conserve Species to Protect Livelihoods in World’s Top Biodiversity Hotspots

Video statement of Mr. Francisco Rilla speaking at the opening of the workshop


The European Commission were recognized as Champion Plus for their generous support and commitment towards Building Capacity for Migratory Species Conservation for the period 2015-2018. The First Regional Capacity-Building Workshop held in the Caribbean has been funded with the contribution granted by the European Commission under the Migratory Species Champion Programme and through the Global Public Goods and Challenges (GPGC Programme) Cooperation Agreements with UNEP.


Last updated on 31 January 2017