Minister Dorsett opens Sustainable Finance Workshop
Nassau, The Bahamas — Minister of the Environment and Housing Kendred Dorsett, addressed a Finance Workshop, September 19, aimed at developing sustainable finance mechanisms for protected areas in The Bahamas. Held at the Nature Conservancy on Thompson Boulevard, the effort is a collaboration of the United Nations Environment Programme, Caribbean office (UNEP/CAR), the Italian Government, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Nature Conservancy.
“The Bahamas Government was pleased to have been responsible for officially launching the Caribbean Challenge Initiative at a High Level Event during the Convention on Biological Diversity’s 9th Conference of the Parties in Bonn, Germany in 2008. We are further pleased to note that since its launch, the Caribbean Challenge Initiative has grown to include nine other Caribbean countries and territories. The Bahamas Government intends to continue to provide strong leadership support for the Caribbean Challenge Initiative and is fully committed to its success,” said Minister Dorsett.
“The Government, through the Caribbean Challenge, has committed to protecting 20 percent of the near shore marine environment of The Bahamas by 2020. The Government is also committed to other components of The Challenge, which include development and implementation of ecosystem based projects aimed at adaptation to climate change and development of sustainable finance mechanisms to provide sustainable funding to protected areas.”
Minister Dorsett said the government is working to achieve its “20 by 20” goal, which means they aim to have 20 percent Marine Protected Environments in The Bahamas by the year 2020. The plan includes declaring new parks and expanding some existing parks.
However, he said that effective protection of natural resources requires putting measures in place to properly manage them, as well as be certain they are properly resourced financially and with manpower.
“The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has identified that globally protected areas financing needs to be improved, at both site and system level, and that developing long-term financing systems is a key element for protected areas’ sustainability. Sustainable finance refers to a steady and appropriate flow of financial resources that will ensure that the full costs of a protected area system are met, both now and into the future,” said Minister Dorsett.
“I am advised that a recently completed Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) study demonstrated that the Caribbean is leading the world in sustainable finance planning and implementation for national systems of protected areas. The establishment of the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund (CBF), an eight-country regional endowment fund, a few weeks ago is a testament to this. I want to publicly thank the Nature Conservancy, KFW – The German Development Bank, the Global Environment Facility, UNEP, and partners who have worked diligently over the past years to make the Caribbean Diversity Fund a reality.”
Minister Dorsett mentioned the creation of the Bahamas Protected Area Fund by both governmental and non-governmental partners and its draft legislation, which would be a discussion during the workshop.
“Although the BPAF is designed to be the centrepiece of our local pool of sustainable finance options for our national protected area systems, the BPAF has to be supported by other financing options. For example, the Sustainable Finance Plan for the Bahamas Protected Area System identified an immediate shortfall of at least $7 million per year to adequately finance our existing Protected Area system.
Furthermore, as the CBF is being established as an incentive fund, we are aware that The Bahamas must create a sustainable finance mechanism that generates match to CBF proceeds by the third year of receiving funds from the CBF,” said Minister Dorsett.
“Sustainability of our protected areas is not only dependent on a steady and reliable cash flow but also depends on collaboration and cooperation among the various organisations that have protected area management as a part of their portfolio. Partnerships and good communication among you will develop new synergies, improve financial planning and hopefully lead to more effective management of our national protected area system.”
Minister Dorsett reminded the audience of their commitment to conservation through solid partnerships and pooling resources to advance protected area systems and in demonstrating effective management at all layers within the system.
By GENA GIBBS
BAHAMAS INFORMATION SERVICES
Caption: Minister Ken Dorsett addressing the participants of the Sustainable Finance Workshop (BIS Photo / Raymond Bethel).