U.S. Virgin Islands Joins Caribbean Challenge Initiative to Conserve Coasts

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Governor John de Jongh recently informed the prime minister of Grenada, Dr Keith Mitchell, “with great pride” that the United States Virgin Islands has endorsed the Caribbean Challenge Initiative (CCI) and is prepared to sign the CCI Leaders Declaration. The CCI was launched in 2008, with the support of The Nature Conservancy, in order to promote greater regional leadership in protecting and preserving the Caribbean’s coastlines and harbors. The U.S. Virgin Islands has now committed to conserving at least 20 percent of marine and coastal environments in national marine protected systems by 2020, and to creating a conservation trust fund dedicated solely to the management of the protected systems.

Countries and jurisdictions that are already participating in the CCI are Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

De Jongh stated in his letter to Mitchell, who was co-host of the summit of Caribbean political and business leaders held in May of 2013, that attendance at the summit gave the government of the US Virgin Islands “an opportunity to see the alignment of the CCI’s regional initiative alongside our own ambitions for conservation, effective management and innovative financing.”

He mentioned that the “USVI has made significant progress towards the conservation of our marine and coastal environment” since the summit. Currently the territory meets the requirements to protect 20 percent of marine ecosystems through “existing federally and locally-managed national monuments, marine parks, marine reserves and sanctuaries.”

He remarked, “We know that more effort is needed in this area and anticipate that participation in the CCI can assist the territory to overcome resource challenges to providing effective management of our coastal areas.”

[. . .] Additional commitments made by the US Virgin Islands for the Caribbean Challenge Initiative include: continue the USVI Coral Reef Initiative for sustainable management and protection of coral reef ecosystems and fisheries; accelerate the transition to alternative energy sources and reach a goal of 60 percent reduction in fossil fuel-based consumption by 2025; and increase enforcement of protected areas. [. . .]

For full article, see http://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/topstory-USVI-joins-Caribbean-Challenge-Initiative-to-conserve-coastal-areas-22461.html

Also see the original announcement at http://www.governordejongh.com/blog/2014/08/caribbean-challenge.html

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