(PRESS RELEASE) – Representatives from the World Bank Mission responsible for the Caribbean Regional Oceanscape Project (CROP) visited Saint Lucia from September 19, 2018 to September 20, 2018 to provide implementation support for the recently launched US$6.3M project.
The World Bank’s technical team comprised Sylvia Michele Diez, Senior Environmental Specialist and Task Team Leader; Vinicius Lima Moura, Senior Procurement Specialist; and Jorge Guillermo Barbosa, Ocean Consultant. Arun Manuja, Senior Financial Management Specialist; Andrew Francis Drumm, Environment Safeguards Specialist; and Ramon Anria, Operations Analyst for Social Safeguards, provided support remotely from Washington, DC.
The two-day visit facilitated collaboration with the OECS Units directly connected to the CROP such as Ocean Governance and Fisheries, Environment, Procurement, Finance, Legal, Social Development, Education, Communications and Resource Mobilisation.
Objectives of the mission were to:
– review the implementation status of each project component;
– review and assess progress towards achieving the Project Development Objectives and update the Results Framework;
– review program activities for the next 12 months;
– review safeguard compliance; and
– review procurement and financial management performance.
Ms. Sylvia Michele Diez, Environmental Specialist and Project Co-Team Leader, expressed satisfaction with the progress of the project, which she noted as a “first step in terms of managing the ocean in an integrated way.”
“We really need to get a better understanding on the use of the marine space and for that we need better planning and better management of the natural resources – this is where CROP, the project, comes in.”
“[The CROP] is strengthening ocean governance through the development of marine spatial plans. It will also be developing analytical tools for better decision making and it would be creating an education platform to create more awareness on the use of the ocean space and on the blue economy concept – which is really how we manage the ocean space in a way that is sustainable and without over exploiting these resources.”
Widespread participation and citizen engagement are essential ingredients contributing to strengthening ocean governance and to the development of coastal and marine spatial plans (CMSP) as well as to the CROP Strategic Environmental and Social Assessment (SESA).
Project Manager for the CROP within the OECS Ocean Governance and Fisheries Unit, Mrs. Susanna De Beauville-Scott highlighted the importance of the stakeholder meetings towards ensuring the success of the project.
“We have had a number of engagements and inception meetings with each of the participating countries and we have also held stakeholder consultations to identify any potential environmental and social impacts that the project itself could have on these countries.”
“We are looking at long term effects that can result from the implementation of the marine spatial plans and also from the implementation of the actions outlined in the coastal master plans.”
“We have begun to identify these [possible impacts] at a very early stage so that the project is designed in such a way as to mitigate against them.”
Through facilitated citizen engagement, the CROP has been successful in fostering a collaborative synergy amongst sectoral ministries, private industries, and resource users (stakeholders at all levels) both in-country and across the region.
Two National Ocean Governance Committees (NOGCs – St. Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines) have already been established following a series of CROP meetings across participating countries.
Meanwhile, the project has made progress towards generating knowledge partnerships, including the signed MOU with the Virtual Educa Foundation.
OECS Ocean Governance and Fisheries Coordinator, Commander David Robin, welcomes the use of the marine space, and the industries that are built on it, to support socio-economic development in OECS Member States.
“The CROP focuses on the aspects of leveraging what is now referred to as the Blue Economy – the sustainable activities which manage health and wealth and create a balance for the ocean – so that the use of the resources within the marine space of Member States would be available not only now, but for future generations as well.”
The Caribbean Regional Oceanscape Project is funded by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), administered by the World Bank, and is being implemented by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Commission in close collaboration with Member States.
The project seeks to support the preservation of coastal and marine resources, and implement regional policies to stimulate blue growth in five Eastern Caribbean countries, namely Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
The CROP will also provide support to implement the OECS Eastern Caribbean Regional Ocean Policy (ECROP).