ICRAN designates Bonaire Marine Park as best practice demonstration site

June 18, 2001
The Bonaire National Marine Park, together with three other Marine Protected Areas, has been designated as a demonstration site by the International Coral Reef Action Network (ICRAN). The demonstration sites will be used to promote best practices at a number of sites elsewhere, through training and exchange programs.

The International Coral Reef Action Network is a collaborative effort developed to reverse the decline of the world's coral reefs. ICRAN consists of a set of inter-linked, complementary activities designed to assist with the implementation of the International Coral Reef Initiative's (ICRI) Framework for Action, and to facilitate the proliferation of good practices for coral reef management and conservation.

ICRI is an informal partnership among governments, NGOs, and organizations such as UNEP, ICLARM and the World Bank which was launched since 1995 to catalize action to save coral reefs due to their alarming rate of disappearance. ICRI has been further endorsed by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), UNEP and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC of UNESCO).

In 1995 the Wider Caribbean developed its regional Agenda for Action under ICRI and identified UNEP's Caribbean Environment Programme (UNEP-CAR/RCU) as regional contact point and facilitator for implementation of the ICRI process.

The ICRAN project primarily funded by the United Nations Foundation (UNF) includes several components and seeks to attract other donors to implement complementary elements of the project. The project encompasses two phases: a start-up phase (1999-2001) and an action phase of four years (2001-2005). During the start-up phase, ICRAN has undertaken pilot activities on the ground in the Wider Caribbean, Eastern Africa and South East Asia, developed the Strategic Plan with ICRAN partners and reviewed funding mechanisms and the potential for fundraising for the action phase.

The Wider Caribbean Region is one of the four major geographic areas of focus of ICRAN. Global partners such as the Global Coral Reef Monitoring (GCRMN) of ICRI, the World Fish Centre (ICLARM), the UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC), the Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL) and the World Resources Institute (WRI) will participate in ICRAN contributing in their own areas of expertise. Additionally, activities within the region will be undertaken in co-ordination with the existing network of MPAs in the Wider Caribbean (CaMPAM), regional initiatives and networks such as the Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism (CAST) and the Caribbean Fisheries Resource Management Programme (CFRAMP), relevant governments, regional partners such as the World Conservation Union (IUCN), The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and local NGOs.

The primary objective of the ICRAN activities in the Wider Caribbean is to build capacity on the ground for the sustainable management of coral reefs, emphasising the role of MPAs, local communities and the tourism sector. To this end a number of regional and local activities will be implemented including promotion of best practices, training, coral reef monitoring and assessments (including socio-economic assessment of coral reefs), mapping of MPAs and their habitats, and public awareness targeted mostly to decision makers and developers with emphasis on the economic value of coral reefs.

In an effort to maximise results and sustainability, a major component of the Project in the region is the establishment of demonstration sites which will be used to promote best practices at selected target sites, not only through the life of the Project but after its completion on a continuous basis. "Demonstration sites" will be selected on agreed criteria and on the basis of successful "best practice(s)" being implemented by such sites. These sites will also be provided with the necessary technical assistance to address current weaknesses and facilitate their functioning as "demonstration sites".

Therefore ICRAN activities for the Wider Caribbean may be summarised as follows:

  1. Demonstration sites (preliminary sites identified through the start-up phase)
  1. Target sites with communities ( tentative preliminary sites identified)
  1. Information and communication programmes
  1. Monitoring and performance data collection and managementLow cost, standardized coral reef monitoring among all participation sites and marine protected areas, including participation in GCRMN, CARICOMP, ReefBase, ReefCheck etc.
  2. Support for programmes to reduce pressures/develop alternative income strategyDevelopment of alternative livelihoods (eg. ecotourism activities, seamoss cultivation) in target communities.
  3. TrainingSupport to the existing Training of Trainers programme on all aspects of MPA management (both regional courses for trainers and local activities by the trainees).

For additional information contact:
Alessandra Vanzella-Khouri
UNEP-CAR/RCU,14-20 Port Royal Street, Kingston, Jamaica
Phone: (876) 922-9267Fax: (876) 922-9292
Visit the CEP website at www.cep.unep.org/

Saba and Bonaire Marine Parks selected as SIDS eco-tourism success stories

August 8
The United Nations Department of Social and Economic Affairs, Division for Sustainable Development, Small Island Developing States Unit recently set up a new 'Ecotourism Success Stories' section on the SIDS website (http://www.sidsnet.org/eco-tourism/index.html). Among some twenty organizations from around the world, both the Saba Marine Park and the Bonaire National Marine Park are featured there. Also notable is the presence of the Arikok National Park of Aruba.

The Division for Sustainable Development, Small Island Developing States Unit, decided that in preparation for the International Year of Ecotourism, it would be beneficial to identify successful practices of ecotourism on small islands. In order for ecotourism to be categorized as successful, it must meet the following criteria; it must combine natural and cultural tourism; involve local populations in the program, including providing educational resources to the local community; identify, manage, and conserve the natural and cultural environment, as well as the resources on the island; and help generate practices that will lead to the future sustainability of the island. If these criteria are practiced by an organization, it deserves to be recognized as successful.

Both Bonaire and Saba Marine Parks were chosen for:

Saba Marine Park was also selected because of its Influence on the island economy. Bonaire National Marine Park is acknowledged for its local as well as global recognition.

The SIDS division feels that with the International Year of Ecotourism approaching, it is important to recognize the successful, original leaders of the ecotourism industry. It is hoped that these success stories will set examples for future ecotourism organizations around the globe.

For further information please contact:
Ms. Paola Deda
SIDS Unit - Division for Sustainable Development/UN DESA
One, United Nations Plaza, New York, NY, 10017
Tel. (212) 963 4721 Fax. (212) 963 1270
E-mail: deda@un.org