United Nations Environment Programme

The mission of the United Nations Environment Programme is:
To provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.

The agency's work is carried out by providing guidance, expertise, programme funding and collaborative partnerships, UNEP works with small island states of the Caribbean to drive initiatives that might otherwise remain only ideas.

Caribbean Environment Programme
The Caribbean Environment Programme (CEP) is one of the UNEP administered Regional Seas Programmes. The CEP is managed by and for the countries of the Wider Caribbean Region through the Caribbean Action Plan (1981) outlining regional environmental challenges.

The Action Plan led to the 1983 adoption of the Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region (Cartagena Convention), which provides the legal framework. The Convention has been supplemented by three protocols addressing specific environmental issues namely, oil spills, specially protected areas and wildlife and land-based sources and activities of marine pollution. The CEP provides the programmatic framework for the Cartagena Convention.

The Caribbean Regional Co-ordinating Unit (CAR/RCU) located in Kingston, Jamaica was created in 1986 and serves as Secretariat to the CEP. The CEP has three main sub-programmes:
• Assessment and Management of Environment Pollution (AMEP)
• Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW)
• Communication, Education, Training and Awareness (CETA)

UNEP SPAW (Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife)
The Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW Protocol) was adopted in 1990, and entered into force in 2000. The SPAW Protocol seeks to “Take the necessary measures to protect, preserve and manage in a sustainable way … a) areas that require protection to safeguard their special value, and b) threatened or endangered species of flora and fauna”.
The objectives of the SPAW Programme are to assist Governments in meeting the provisions of the Protocol and to:
• Significantly increase the number, and improve the management of, national protected areas in the Wider Caribbean Region (WCR), including support to national and regional conservation management strategies and plans.
• Support the conservation of threatened and endangered species and sustainable use of natural resources to prevent them from becoming threatened or endangered;
• Develop strong regional capability for the co-ordination of information exchange, training and assistance, in support of national biodiversity conservation efforts;
• Coordinate activities, and develop synergies, with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), as well as other biodiversity-related treaties and initiatives, such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the Convention on Wetlands/Ramsar Convention, the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS)/Bonn Convention, the Western Hemisphere Conventions, the Interamerican Convention for the Conservation of Sea Turtles (IAC), the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI)  and the Western Hemisphere Migratory Species Initiative (WHMSI).
Barbados ratified in October 2002.

The Cartagena Convention
The Cartagena Convention has been ratified by 25 United Nations Member States in the Wider Caribbean Region. Its area of application comprises the marine environment of the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea and the areas of the Atlantic Ocean adjacent thereto, south of 30 north latitude and within 200 nautical miles of the Atlantic Coasts of the States.
The legal structure of the Convention is such that it covers the various aspects of marine pollution for which the Contracting Parties must adopt measures. Thus, the Convention requires the adoption of measures aimed at preventing, reducing and controlling pollution of the following areas:
• pollution from ships
• pollution caused by dumping
• pollution from sea-bed activities
• airborne pollution
• pollution from land-based sources and activities

In addition, the Parties are required to take appropriate measures to protect and preserve rare or fragile ecosystems, as well as the habitat of depleted, threatened or endangered species and to develop technical and other guidelines for the planning and environmental impact assessments of important development projects in order to prevent or reduce harmful impacts on the area of application.

The Cartagena Convention is not the only Multilateral Environmental Agreement applicable in the region. Other applicable agreements include the Convention on Biological Diversity, MARPOL 73/78, the Basel Convention and others. However, its regional area of application makes it an important complement to other agreements.

Solar Energy in Barbados
Barbados’ overreliance on imported fossil fuels has become one of the island’s major environmental concerns. The Barbadian government’s National Strategic Plan of Barbados for 2006-25 is designed to rectify this dependency by increasing the country’s renewable energy supply, with a particular focus on raising the number of household solar water heaters by 50 per cent by 2025. Solar water heaters are now a widely used renewable energy technology in Barbados, with installations in nearly half of the island’s dwelling units.

UNEP Green Economy Support
UNEP held discussions with officials from Barbados during the 17th Meeting of the Forum of Ministers of Environment of Latin America and the Caribbean, in Panama, 29-30 May 2010 and during the 1st Preparatory Committee Meeting for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) held in New York, on 17-19 May 2010.

Reports, news stories and in depth information can be found on the UNEP website as well as the Caribbean Environment website.