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St. Lucian hotelier takes on Caribbean Challenge Initiative

By Caribbean Challenge Initiative

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From left: Eleanor Phillips, Director of External Affairs for the Caribbean for The Nature Conservancy; German Ambassador to CARICOM and Chairman of the CCI Steering Committee Holger Michael; Karolin Troubetzkoy, new Envoy for the Caribbean Challenge Initiative; and Yabanex Batista, CEO of the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund.

(PRESS RELEASE) – St. Lucian hotelier Karolin Troubetzkoy has joined the Caribbean’s efforts to address the crisis of marine and coastal resources degradation with her appointment this week as Envoy of the Caribbean Challenge Initiative (CCI).

CCI was launched in 2008 in response to the crisis facing the Caribbean’s marine and coastal resources. The organization serves as a voluntary, informal and innovative platform uniting a coalition of governments, the private sector and partners around collaborative action to conserve and sustainably manage the Caribbean’s diverse marine environment.

Troubetzkoy, the executive director of the storied Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain resorts, was appointed to the newly created position following a CCI Steering Committee meeting in Castries this week.

“It is humbling to be asked to serve in such an important position to help ensure a more prosperous and sustainable future for the region,” said Troubetzkoy. “Creating a more resilient marine environment is a critical component to reduce our vulnerabilities to climate change. These regional challenges are best tackled through inter-stakeholder collaboration. I look forward to building awareness of the CCI, its goals and the opportunities presented by this initiative. Investing my time and efforts in this volunteer leadership role is built on my desire to give back to a region which I have called home for many decades.”

This is not the first time Troubetzkoy has held a leadership role in the Caribbean; she served as president of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association from 2016 to 2018. In St. Lucia, Troubetzkoy has recently been reelected president of the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association, a position she also held from 2010 to 2015. She was instrumental in the creation of St. Lucia’s Tourism Enhancement Fund.

Since its inception, CCI has galvanized new funding and concrete action, and has supported Caribbean governments in meeting their conservation and sustainable development commitments. CCI describes itself as an “action shop”, emphasizing tangible impacts.

Participating members – including 11 governments and 15 companies – have formally declared their commitment to marine and coastal conservation, and have agreed to take action to help achieve the initiative’s two major goals: to conserve and effectively manage at least 20 percent of the marine and coastal environment by 2020; and to put in place fully functioning finance mechanisms that provide long-term, reliable funding to ensure a healthy marine and coastal environment into the future.

To date, five countries (Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts and Nevis, and the United States Virgin Islands) have achieved or surpassed the 20 percent benchmark. The remaining countries (The Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines) are actively pursuing plans for declarations to meet their commitments by 2020, and in her new role Troubetzkoy intends to shepherd this process and mobilize high-level political support for major CCI advancements and events.

At the meeting in St. Lucia, the CCI Steering Committee also announced the creation of its 2020 road map, a series of national level activities across the CCI countries to celebrate the countries which have met the “20-by-20” goal and also to encourage those still working towards their commitments.

The centerpiece of CCI’s financial architecture is the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund (CBF), which was established in 2012 and currently manages US$70 million towards effective management of the Caribbean’s marine environment.

CBF’s Chief Executive Officer, Yabanex Batista, commented: “The CBF along with national level funds aim to serve as a financial platform to attract and effectively deploy resources for conservation in the Caribbean. We look forward to working hand in hand with Mrs. Troubetzkoy to galvanize action and increase financial support for achieving CCI goals.”

Financial commitments have been received from The Nature Conservancy, the Government of Germany through the German Development Bank (KfW) and the Global Environment Facility through The World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme.

In welcoming the envoy, Chairman of the CCI Steering Committee, German Ambassador Holger Michael, stated: “The appointment of Karolin Troubetzkoy as CCI Envoy represents a significant step in achieving the CCI objectives of sustainable coastal area management.”

Eleanor Phillips, external affairs director for The Nature Conservancy in the Caribbean, added: “As one of the key architects of the CCI, The Nature Conservancy is excited to have Mrs. Troubetzkoy join as CCI Envoy, a role we see as critical to encouraging CCI member countries to achieve CCI goals by 2020.”

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