What is at issue:
The Sustainable Grenadines Project was committed to the conservation of the coastal and marine environment and sustainable livelihoods for the people of the Grenadines. This was approached through capacity building and increased awareness of the environment for nongovernmental organisations and community groups.
The Sustainable Grenadines Project was based on the idea that in the Grenadines, civil society partners are the least able to participate in bringing about change that is equitable and lasting. The project therefore focused on strengthening civil society so that it can better play its role. The project placed emphasis on the conservation of biological diversity especially through its associated project activities. The achievements of the project are highlighted below.
The Project Implementation Unit was established with two staff in Union Island. Its purposes are: (1) to implement core activities and (2) to pursue funding for and facilitate implementation of associated projects.
What's happening now:
What we have achieved:
Sector Planning and Training Workshops: Sector planning workshops brought together stakeholders around a common interest or theme, to share their ideas and discuss the way forward. The numerous Grenadines non-governmental organizations (NGOs), community-based organizations (CBOs) and social groups are eager to make a difference but are uncertain what to do to ensure their organizations are functional and have an impact. SusGren provided training to help them.
Mini-projects: Mini-projects provided small NGOs, or groups of NGOs, the opportunity to implement a small project, valued at about US$2,000. This component was a means to achieve visible outputs in many islands while building the capacity of the groups in project implementation.
Communications/Networking: SusGren fostered linkages among Grenadines stakeholders to increase awareness of the project and its aims.
Associated Projects and Activities
The Sustainable Grenadines Project has partnered with local, regional and international organizations to bring associated projects to the Grenadines and increase the total value of the Project beyond the funding provided by The Lighthouse Foundation. Over 10 projects have been initiated and most completed. SusGren’s role has ranged from full implementation to facilitating projects of other agencies.
The Water Taxi Project addressed aspects of the daily operation of water taxis and especially their potential to negatively impact the environment. It strengthened the capacity of water taxi operators to act as environmental stewards while earning a livelihood on the sea.
Grenadines bibliography: Information on the environment, sustainable development, culture and anthropology of the Grenadine islands was widely scattered. Grenadine Islanders often found it difficult to access the information needed to make informed decisions about their own development. This project compiled this information to make it easily accessible to local community.
People and Corals Project: This project promoted coral reef conservation throughout the Grenadine islands through the introduction coral reef conservation concepts and approaches in primary schools.
Reef Check Training and Monitoring: Reef Check is part of the global initiative to monitor the health of coral reefs in areas of limited economic resources. The reef sites in the Grenadines are monitored bi-annually.
Grenadines Marine Resource and Space-use Information System (MarSIS): The Grenadines Marine Resource and Space-use Information System (MarSIS) is a marine spatial mapping database that was created in order to provide a wider information base to allow for a more holistic and informed decision-making process between the countries of Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Ashton Lagoon Restoration: The project aimed to restore and ensure sustainable use of the Ashton Lagoon area. Key stakeholders met at the Ashton Lagoon Restoration Project planning workshop to develop the ‘Ashton Lagoon Restoration and Union Island Sustainable Tourism Project‘ and an internet discussion group — the ‘Friends of Ashton Lagoon’.
MPA Management Effectiveness: This was part of a regional initiative of CERMES, funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It evaluated marine protected area (MPA) management at three MPAs one of which was the Tobago Cays Marine Park (TCMP). Stakeholders at the 2005 workshop entitled ‘Enhancing the management effectiveness of the TCMP’ committed to implementing activities to improve the effectiveness of management.
GEF/SGP Capacity Strengthening Programme for the Union Island Environmental Attackers (UIEA): This project strengthened the capacity of the UIEA to undertake conservation and sustainable development projects through participatory approaches, increase public awareness and build consensus for action in addressing solid waste pollution from yachts and improve the management of marine environment by significantly reducing pollution from yachts.
Establishment of Sandy Island Oyster Bed (SIOB) MPA: SusGren played an active and important role in developing the contracts, liaising with local groups, evaluating proposals and coordinating meetings.
OECS Protected Areas and Associated Livelihoods Project (OPAAL): The OPAAL project seeks to conserve biodiversity of global importance by removing barriers to effective management of protected areas, and increasing civil society and private sector involvement in the planning, management and sustainable use of these areas. The OPAAL project for St. Vincent and the Grenadines focused on establishing the Tobago Cays Marine Park. SusGren has been a key facilitator through improving the operation and management structure of TCMP.
Seamoss farming: This project provided an opportunity for sustainable local livelihoods through seamoss mariculture and processing.
Strengthening of the Fisher Folk Collaboration in the Grenadines: SusGren obtained a CERMES MarGov project small grant to establish governance arrangements through which fisher folk collaboration can be strengthened in the Grenadines at a multi-island, transboundary (across islands and two nations) scale to address shared fisheries issues. Overall, the project will increase fisher capacity. It will enable Grenadines fishers to represent themselves at regional meetings and to gain skills through attachment with an established fisher folk organization.
Reducing Marine Litter in the Wider Caribbean: Developing and Implementing Best Waste Management Practices: The objective of this project is to reduce the amount of marine litter released into waters of the Caribbean region in and around several high profile areas managed for ecosystem values. The project will take place in five countries: Bahamas, Belize, Jamaica, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Social Network Analysis: To better understand the stakeholder environment as a precursor to undertaking efforts at enhancing social capital, relationships among stakeholder organisations were examined using social network analysis (SNA).
The way forward
The Sustainable Grenadines Project (SusGren) has succeeded in its aim of strengthening the capacity of civil society in the Grenadines to contribute to sustainable development. This has been done with an emphasis on conservation of the marine environment as the basis for development and livelihoods. As with all projects, the sustainability of the initiative after the end of the project was a concern. To address this, SusGren has worked towards the continuation of its efforts by establishing a transboundary NGO - Sustainable Grenadines Inc— which is registered in both Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
SusGren as an NGO will continue to support regional and international obligations such as The St. George's Declaration of Principles for Environmental Sustainability in the OECS countries, the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plans and the Systems Plan for Protected Areas of Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. It will be structured in such a way as to continue to facilitate the growth and development of Grenadines NGOs and their role in sustainable development and to build capacity at the level of the individual, the organisation and strategically at the level of the Grenadine Islands.
SusGren will continue to be a supportive body for the Grenadines. It will have four internships over the next two years and several projects are on-going (e.g. OPAAL, Strengthening of the Fisher Folk Collaboration in the Grenadines, Seamoss Farming and Reducing Marine Litter in the Wider Caribbean). SusGren has also attracted international funding for the following future projects.