The Regional Coordination Unit for the United Nations Environment Programme, located in Kingston (UNEP-CAR/RCU), is in charge of implementing the programme of activities for each of the themed Protocols. It is backed up in this by Regional Activity Centres (RAC), which give it the scientific and technical support it needs, and contribute in the search for funding and in setting up projects. The different States that signed the Convention run these RAC. The SPAW-RAC thus elaborates, along with the UNEP Secretariat an annual programme of activities, based on the trends and priorities established by signatory countries during SPAW Party conferences. The RAC’s mission is indeed to support signatory countries so that the latter can develop determined actions. The RAC works from a regional viewpoint, which is to say in a framework of cooperation between a number of countries or with organisations and networks working throughout the entire Caribbean region.
The RAC has an operating budget given by the French ministry for the environment, and a budget for development and action support granted by the French State, a SPAW trust fund and other sources of funding it receives. It is housed by the Parc national de la Guadeloupe
Missions and activities
The countries having signed the SPAW Protocol vote a programme of work every two years, covering the different subjects listed in the protocol: implementation of protected areas, species observation measures, management plans and endangered species recovery plans, etc.
The RAC’s vocation is to bring support to signatory countries so that the latter may develop assertive actions. Thus, SPAW-RAC’s statutory missions are the following:
- Gather, list and send to all Caribbean players relevant scientific and technical information, as well as useful experiences
- Gather information on advanced technologies and expertise in wildlife and protected area management in the Caribbean and send to those same players;
- Develop training and information activities
- Supply scientific and technical assistance to SPAW Parties
- Cooperate with the United Nations agencies, intergovernmental, governmental and non-governmental organisations and, more widely, with all players concerned, in order to develop common projects or implement activities linked to SPAW
- Encourage regular exchanges between Caribbean players
- Contribute to the development of regional cooperation around SPAW objectives
- Encourage harmonised approaches and methods
- Organise onsite meetings and assignments that prove useful for carrying out SPAW objectives.
- Develop main guidelines and criteria for identifying, choosing, establishing, managing and protecting areas and species targeted by SPAW
- Train, inform and increase public awareness, in particular those of populations directly concerned by the management of these specially protected areas and wild species
- From these missions and according to the programmes of work established by the Parties during the COP, the SPAW-RAC establishes every year, in joint collaboration with UNEP’s regional coordination unit, its own detailed programme of activities.
- SPAW RAC presentation
Other activities, unrelated to SPAW-RAC’s regional role, can be entrusted to SPAW-RAC by the French authorities on the condition that these do not disrupt or affect the RAC’s regional role and its commitments concerning these.
In practice, and in order to answer the missions below, the SPAW-RAC can be led to develop various different activities, depending on the need, such as:
- Distributing information on current projects and programmes in the region and contributing to the proper articulation of the different initiatives developed;
- Setting up a common database, encouraging parties to share data, encouraging exchanges of protocols and systems of reference used throughout the Caribbean;
- Helping with the supply (publishing, uploading) of guides, information, product manuals created by the different Caribbean players;
- Running a working group on the subject matters specifically detailed in the SPAW protocol and its work programmes;
- Helping players to identify pertinent partners according to their needs, helping them to integrate the different regional networks, contributing to the creation of these networks;
- Helping to put together then carry these projects, supplying both technical assistance for these projects’ content, identifying potential partners, directing project carriers towards potential sources of funding, and even offering direct financial support from budgets managed by the RAC and/or by participating in the implementation of projects;
- Organising seminars and training sessions on specific themes;
- Putting together documents or awareness, communication and educational actions targeting local players in the Caribbean region: decision-makers, conservation players, fishing and tourism professionals, schools, etc;
- Running scientific and technical research and study courses on Caribbean biodiversity.
- Monitoring actions developed by regional actors under the SPAW protocol and its programmes of work.