31 January 2017 - Natural solutions to sustainability challenges in Cuba: The Sabana-Camagüey Archipelago lies at the heart of the broader Sabana-Camagüey Ecosystem (SCE).
31 January 2017 - Natural solutions to sustainability challenges in Cuba: The Sabana-Camagüey Archipelago lies at the heart of the broader Sabana-Camagüey Ecosystem (SCE).
Over the years, the region's ecosystems have come under varying degrees of pressure as a result of unsustainable practices in sectors such as agriculture, livestock, fisheries, and tourism – all of which play an important role in the local and national economy. Conflicts between competing land uses emerged, and with the closure of sugar factories in the 1990s many people were left without their traditional livelihoods.
Against this backdrop, the Government of Cuba and its partners, with support from UNDP and funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), began to turn challenges into opportunities, using nature-based solutions. In 1993, the first of a series of three projects was initiated in the Sabana-Camagüey Ecosystem to conserve valuable ecosystems, prioritise biodiversity in development planning, and build sustainable communities.
Working at pilot sites (including two Ramsar wetlands), a wealth of biodiversity-compatible livelihoods was introduced, including: nature-based tourism, agro-forestry, bee-keeping, sustainable livestock management, and the sustainable cultivation of mangrove oysters and natural sponges. In previously degraded wetlands, farmers now adopt sustainable approaches to raising water buffaloes for meat and milk, whilst restoring wetland health.
In areas previously under sugarcane, farmers now cultivate a wide variety of crops, nurturing them with organic compost from worm farms, and using biogas for their energy needs. The net effect of these changes has been to restore ecosystem health, with additional benefits for food security and economic prosperity. Best practices developed in the SCE have now been scaled-up and replicated at other sites.
Local fishers association develops an underwater tourist trail as a tool for biodiversity conservation and supporting local livelihoods.
30 January 2017 - Salamansa is a fishing village in Cape Verde with approximately 1,170 inhabitants. It is located north of the island of São Vicente near the city of Mindelo and it is a rural area where half of the population is primarily engaged in artisanal fishing for their livelihoods. The artisanal fishing community includes about 148 fishermen and 10 fish merchants, who also practice other socio-economic activities such as animal husbandry, agriculture (during the rainy season), and small scale trade.
With the aim to create alternative livelihoods, reduce the pressure on the ecosystem and reactivate the first underwater trail for ecotourism, the Associação dos Pescadores de Salamansa received technical and financial support from the GEF Small Grants Programme in Cape Verde in 2010. The construction of the underwater trail in Baía das Gatas was the result of an initial partnership between Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) Cape Verde, WWF Germany and the German Agency for Nature Conservation.
The goal of this project was to demonstrate community-based ecotourism as a tool for biodiversity conservation and improvement of local livelihoods using the underwater trail as an example. To operationalize the underwater trail, the association carried out a number of key activities including the development of a marketing strategy to promote the trail, preparation of a code of conduct for its use, and selection and training of key staff to manage the trail.
The second phase of the project involved the establishment of a community-based maintenance and monitoring plan for the underwater trail and an awareness raising campaign within the community about the benefits of the sustainable use of marine resources. Once everything was in place, the trail was opened to the public, excursions were promoted and organized, and the Associação dos Pescadores de Salamansa, established a fund to collect and manage trail admission fees for maintaining the trail.
30 January 2017 - Belitung is a small archipelago situated on the east coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. It comprises one main island and several small islands, and is part of Bangka Belitung I
30 January 2017 - Belitung is a small archipelago situated on the east coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. It comprises one main island and several small islands, and is part of Bangka Belitung Islands Province. Due to its rich deposits of tin, Belitung experienced the development of a massive tin mining business that started in the colonial period around the 1850s. The expansion of mining activities on the island led to rapid environmental degradation, eventually damaging 80% of the mangrove forest in Selat Nasik Coast, and producing negative impacts on the livelihoods of the local fisher folks.
The Belitung Coastal Community Group (BCCG) was established in 1998 with the mission to combat the environmental threats caused by mining activities and to implement sustainable coastal ecosystem management. In particular, BCCG aims to rehabilitate, protect and manage marine and coastal resources, while also reducing poverty and improving the livelihoods of the communities on Belitung Island.
Since 2008, the UNDP implemented GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP) in Indonesia has worked closely with the Belitung Coastal Community Group – BCCG (Kelompok Pemuda Lingkungan Belitung – or KPLB in Bahasa Indonesia), to implement an innovative island conservation model in Tanjung Binga, Belitung Island and Kepayang Island.
At the outset, the project aimed at creating a model for the sustainable management of coral reef ecosystems that would enable the rehabilitation and protection of key natural resources while also reducing poverty and improving the livelihoods of the community in Belitung Island. To achieve this objective, BCCG organized activities to raise awareness in the community about the threats faced by coral reef ecosystems, started a coral reef transplantation programme to improve the quality and variety of coral reef, and conducted participatory education and training in order to implement effective and sustainable coral reef management. BCCG also created a network to support the work of fishers and other key stakeholders engaged in conservation activities. To improve livelihoods and reduce the pressure on the ecosystems, the group also initiated sustainable ornamental fishery and ecotourism activities. This project improved the coral ecosystem, engaged the community in conservation activities and increased the income and quality of life of the local population.
Mangrove Conservation and Sustainable Fisheries in Playa Florida
Playa Florida is a coastal village in the south of Cuba adjacent to one of the most delicate and rich marine eco-systems in the Caribbean.
This area is also one of the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change and the local communities have had to evacuate during storms (such as Ike and Paloma in 2008).
The loss of the mangroves poses a risk to the local population by shortening the shoreline, increasing erosion and their vulnerability to floods, surges and storms. In terms of biodiversity, the damage to the mangrove ecosystem also reduces water quality and destroys the natural habitat of fish and crustacean species.
In 2009, with the support of the GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP) and the technical advice from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment, the community of Playa Florida set out to restore the coastal and mangrove ecosystem in Playa Florida. To achieve this goal the community started an awareness raising campaign on the importance of the mangrove ecosystem for the health of marine resources and as an adaptation tool to address climate change. The community also worked with fisher folk to improve their fishing practices and livelihood opportunities and reduce the pressure on the ecosystem. The project also provided better fishing gear and training on sustainable fishing practices such as the use of wider fishing nets to reduce bycatch, promoting compliance and respect for fishing bans, and developing sustainable fishing plans. The project also worked with fisher folk to create a union that would enable them to get better prices.
In Malaysia, various state and national laws protect marine sea turtles; and four species have been identified for conservation purposes.
However, the once abundant leatherback turtle is now functionally extinct. The olive ridley is down to just tens of nests per year. The hawksbill hangs on precariously. Only green turtle numbers remain stable, with several hundred turtles nesting regularly at a few rookeries and some 5,000 nests annually off Sandakan, in Sabah (Borneo).
While green turtles are abundant, they face exceptional challenges and the greatest of these is accidental capture in commercial and artisanal fisheries. Sea turtles share habitats with certain shrimp and fish species and are put at risk by shrimp trawling. As the nets roll along the seabed they indiscriminately catch and drown numerous sea turtles – estimated at some 3,000 to 4,000 each year in Sabah alone.
The GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP), implemented by UNDP, supported the Marine Research Foundation (MRF) to develop and implement a long-term national by catch reduction programme in partnership with the Department of Fisheries of Malaysia (DOFM). The programme had an ecosystem-based approach to fisheries to improve the conservation status of sea turtles and their habitats in Malaysia. This was achieved through the use of Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs), which are oval metal grids affixed in the narrow portion of the net, allowing fish and shrimp to pass through to the cod end while ejecting large objects, such as turtles, through a net webbing ‘trapdoor’.
Integrated Fisheries and Marine Reserve Management
Rodrigues is a semi-autonomous dependency of the Republic of Mauritius, situated within the Mascarene Archipelago, a recognized global biodiversity hotspot.
The island is of volcanic origin and is encompassed by an extensive fringing reef, with a wide shallow lagoon that covers an area of 240 km2. Fisheries are a vital source of employment, income and subsistence livelihoods in Rodrigues and play an important role in the local culture and traditions, and therefore their sustainable management is a priority. The fisheries of Rodrigues are highly diverse with over 100 fish species from a range of families recorded in fisheries sampling so far. In addition a variety of invertebrate species are also exploited. However, through the years, intensive fishing pressure in the lagoon has resulted in drastic declines of both finfish and invertebrate landings and degradation of lagoon habitats. Some important commercial species could become rare or even locally extinct if they are not protected. The isolation of Rodrigues also contributes to unusual and perhaps unique marine assemblages, and supports some endemic fish species.
Since 2001, the GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP) implemented by UNDP has undertaken a programmatic approach to promote integrated coastal and ocean governance in the area. Initially, during the period from 2001 till 2004 SGP supported the project “Sustainable Reef Fisheries Development in the Rodrigues Lagoon”, which became the catalyst for current marine conservation efforts in Rodrigues and resulted in the identification of 4 Marine Reserves in the northern lagoon by the fisher community. During implementation of this project, an inventory of local fish species was carried out by a team of local and international marine scientists to determine their populations. Several new endemic species of fish and corals were discovered during these surveys, namely “the Rodrigues Damsel” and the “Rodrigues Acropora”, named after the island. These studies and discoveries have been acknowledged in leading scientific journals namely in the UK (Allen & Wright, 2003; Heemstra et al., 2004).
Marine Biodiversity Conservation in the Tun Mustapha Park, Sabah
In March 2003, the Government of Sabah announced its approval of the proposed Tun Mustapha Park (TMP), a marine area covering 1.02 million hectares in the northern part of Sabah.
The marine protected area (MPA) was previously known as the Kudat-Banggi Priority Conservation Area, and is one of the priority areas identified under the Sulu-Sulawesi Marine Ecoregion (SSME) as being globally significant for its high biodiversity and rich natural resources. Geographically, the area is located within the Coral Triangle and is home to some of the richest marine flora and fauna complexes in the world (WWF-Malaysia, 2011).
This is a strategic project supported by the UNDP implemented GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP). The project is implemented by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature in Malaysia (WWF Malaysia) aiming to scale up interventions for marine biodiversity conservation in Tun Mustapha Park. The project includes the following four components for community based marine biodiversity conservation: 1) building capacity and empowering local communities and stakeholders to conduct patrolling and collaborative enforcement, 2) promoting environmental stewardship, 3) developing conservation enterprises linked to resource management, 4) building capacity for the implementation of an ecosystem approach to fisheries management. (WWF, 2014)
To promote capacity development and community empowerment, a series of community consultations have been undertaken. Community members have also received training in reef assessment and monitoring. To patrol the park, in order to enforce lawful use, the project collaborated with local government enforcement agencies and local communities in establishing regular joint patrolling activities. The project also hosted session to share the experiences and lessons learned by the community groups, and discussed strategies to ensure the sustainable management of the park. To promote environmental stewardship, the project focused on raising awareness among youth groups on the merits of sustainable marine management. In terms conservation enterprises, the communities decided to further develop sustainable sea cucumber production, mangrove conservation for ecotourism, and traditional natural farming as alternative livelihood activities. In fisheries management, the project has focused on capacity development for the implementation of an ecosystem approach to fisheries management. Training materials were developed and training was conducted with participants from the local communities.
Gökova Bay is one of the most remarkable marine and coastal areas in the Aegean Sea which was designated in 1988 as one of 15 Special Environmental Protected Areas (SEPA) in Turkey, according it cr
itical protection status that requires management plans and coordination among many stakeholders. The bay is home to numerous protected species such as the critically endangered Mediterranean monk seals and sandbar sharks. The ongoing depletion of fish stocks has had a significant impact on the local economy and on the 200 small-scale fishers who depend on the bay for their livelihoods. In particular, over the last 10 years the white grouper – Ephinephalus aeneus – had a sharp decline from 50 kg/year to almost 0 kg/year affecting local fishermen for which this specie represented 70% of their income as it has the highest economic value in the market.
In order to restore the marine ecosystem, promote sustainable development and improve the livelihoods of local fishers, the Underwater Research Society (SAD), with the support of the GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP) implemented by UNDP, started a project aimed at creating a network of “No Fishing Zones” (NFZ). To achieve this goal, SGP and SAD conducted several awareness raising campaigns, meetings and consultations with the government, local fishers, and other key stakeholders who – at first – were not keen on changing the status of the marine ecosystem.
Belize’s biodiversity is exposed to various direct anthropogenic and natural threats system.
Over the last three decades the forest cover in Belize has decreased steadily due to the expansion of economic activities, such as large-scale agriculture and aquaculture. Rapid and uncontrolled coastal development has resulted in increased habitat loss in the coastal zone. It is estimated that about 75-80% of all coastal land in Belize has been purchased for the development of tourism and residential areas, posing a serious threat to mangroves, coastal wetlands, and other coastal ecosystems (Young, 2008). Overfishing and illegal fishing continue to put stress on the ecosystems.
To reduce fishing pressures in and around the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, the UNDP implemented GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP) provided technical
and financial support to the Placencia Producers Cooperative Society Limited (PPCSL), under a special initiative called the Community Management of Protected Areas Conservation (COMPACT) co-financed by the United Nations Foundation. The project introduced local fishers and tour guides to sustainable seaweed production, provided technical assistance, procured necessary materials, and established seaweed farms. The first project focused on the area in Placencia and the second project was implemented to expand the intiative in Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve.
The local community provided support in ensuring that all activities such as preparation of ropes, buoys, anchors, and the transportation of materials to sites were carried out properly. Community members also participated in focus group meetings and were actively involved in the planting and monitoring of the seaweed farms as well as in seaweed harvesting. As a result of the community involvement, 43 seaweed farms were established, doubling the original 20 seaweed farms envisioned in the two project proposals.
Local communities can play an important role to help solve global environmental problems - UNDP/GEF Small Grants Programme
Community Action to Protect International Waters, results of the GEF Small Grants Programme.
Since 1992 SGP has funded 1,027 community projects with approximately $26 million invested in GEF funding and having generated an additional $38 million in co-financing for the protection of international waters.