Under the auspices of the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) and the Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs supported by Wolfs Company and MARES/Forest-Trends, the workshop “From Ecosystem Services Valuation to Action – Informing Decision Making in the Caribbean” was held on Bonaire on 16-18th September 2014. The workshop idea was conceptualized in November 2013, at the 28th ICRI General Meeting, where it was agreed that a capacity building workshop on policy-oriented economic valuation and sustainable financing of protected areas, targeted at Caribbean countries, was needed. The Blue Solutions and ValuES projects commissioned by the German Environment Ministry (BMUB) and implemented by the German International Cooperation (GIZ) with partner institutions, including GRID-Arendal, the Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA), the World Resources Institute (WRI), the French Coral Reef Initiative (IFRECOR), the Wolfs Company, the Blue finance project (under Marine Ecosystem Services (MARES)/Forest-Trends organization), the VU University Amsterdam and ICRI agreed to provide funding and technical assistance for this workshop. Twenty resource managers from fifteen countries of the wider Caribbean attended the workshop (agenda of the workshop).
The primary objective of the workshop was to provide tools and knowledge for participants to design, implement (or manage), and communicate the results of their own socio-economic valuation studies. Participants “travelled” to the imaginary country of Bakul, where they were confronted by a variety of coastal and marine development issues, for which they were required to find effective solutions. Participants learned about successful examples of ecosystem valuation studies guiding decision making in the Caribbean, and discussed the common success factors such as a clear link to a policy question, a sound analysis, stakeholder engagement, and effective communication. Communication strategies were also discussed, so as to ensure that the outputs of the valuation studies could be effectively disseminated and utilized. In addition, the participants were asked to provide one or more policy questions from their countries that could be addressed by ecosystem service valuation (e.g. costs/benefits of sustainable tourism development, arguments for extension of Marine Protected Areas, sustainable financing of conservation). These questions were grouped and worked through with experts during a session on the final day.
The participants of the workshop
In addition to the workshop objectives being fulfilled, participants also took the opportunity to share experiences from their respective countries, as well as taking advantage of the experts’ extensive knowledge.