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For A Stronger Caribbean Conservation Association: Let's Pay Our Dues

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  • Potter at Island Resources
    Dear Friends and Associates -- On Friday, 23 February, Island Resources Foundation was (again) elected to the Board of Directors of the Caribbean Conservation
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 6, 2007
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      Dear Friends and Associates --

      On Friday, 23 February, Island Resources Foundation was (again)
      elected to the Board of Directors of the Caribbean Conservation
      Association (CCA). This honor represents a major obligation of the
      Foundation during its own process of re-adjustment to new realities,
      but it is an obligation that we willingly undertake because CCA is a
      regional institution of major consequence for the environment of the
      Caribbean that demands our loyalty and support.

      We need a strong CCA to continue to coordinate the multiple
      environmental threads that it represents in the Caribbean region.
      MORE IMPORTANTLY, we must have a stronger independent regional body
      to address the TRANSBOUNDARY EFFECTS of environmental pollution of
      air and water, and especially the rapidly evolving impacts of global
      climate change. For many of these issues, there are official
      intergovernmental bodies that claim to "solve" the problem, but what
      is sorely lacking is the independent, NON-GOVERNMENTAL organization
      that tries to sort out the issues for the "rest of us" --- those of
      us who are not government bureaucrats or international bankers.

      The Caribbean Conservation Association has been in existence for 40
      years. I can't begin to summarize its accomplishments in this short
      note, but here is a sample:

      o CCA has been a leader in introducing and adapting the Blue
      Flag Beach Certification programme to the Caribbean; we remain active
      in supporting the concept of community action to improve coastal
      environmental quality and we are prepared to help CCA members who
      want to start their own Blue Flag initiatives;

      o "People and Corals: An Education Pack for Caribbean Primary
      Schools," and "Corals and Coral Reefs in the Caribbean: A manual for
      students," became certified teaching elements of the elementary and
      mid-school curriculum for all of the English speaking Caribbean --- a
      major achievement linking the traditional British-based schools with
      scientifically rigorous study of local environmental conditions.

      o After many years of active discussion and debate involving
      all stakeholders, CCA has become an advocate for closure of whaling
      in the Caribbean, and a leader in regional opposition to the
      industrial whaling lobby in the debates of the International Whaling
      Commission. At the same time, CCA endorses multiple efforts to
      develop alternative livelihoods for fishers and other in the
      non-extractive use of the region's whale resources, such as the
      multi-million dollar whale watching businesses which cater to the
      region's many tourist groups.

      o For seven years the Caribbean Conservation Association has
      been the recognized voice of environmental NGOs in the Caribbean at
      the semi-annual meetings of the Council of the member states of the
      Global Environment Facility (GEF). The Association has never been
      paid for any of this service, but feels an obligation to represent
      the special problems of both the Caribbean and the wider community of
      SMALL ISLANDS throughout the world.

      o Over the years, the CCA has served as an incubator for a
      variety of other organizations and special environmental initiatives.
      Among those are:
      CYEN -- the Caribbean Youth Environmental Network;
      CERN -- the Caribbean Environment Reporters Network (with the
      Panos Institute);
      ECNAMP -- (now CANARI) the premier organization in the
      Caribbean focusing on
      training and assistance for community-based natural
      resource management;
      MAC -- the Museums Association of the Caribbean;
      CARIMOS -- the Caribbean regional affiliate of ICOMOS, the
      International Council
      on Monuments and Sites.

      o Over its long history, the Association has partnered with
      most international, regional and many bi-lateral official development
      assistance organizations. In recent years many of these groups have
      instituted restrictions on the indirect costs (overheads) that they
      will reimburse, which requires CCA to subsidize many of these joint
      programs. This burden is substantial for such programs as the nine
      millon euro Caribbean Regional Environment Programme awarded by the
      European Community.

      o The CCA has been a regional leader in the preservation and
      promotion of the cultural and built environment of the region,
      including early support to the restoration of Brimstone Hill Fortress
      in St. Kitts, joint sponsorship of a regional conference on cultural
      tourism, and transfer of the Cabrits to the ownership of the
      Government of Dominica.

      o In 1989, the CCA sponsored the first Caribbean regional
      conference on economics and the environment; in 2004, in partnership
      with the Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery and CARICAD, the
      Association sponsored a major conference on the environmental
      implications of globalization and the single Caribbean market.

      In spite of these accomplishments, CCA continues to experience
      periodic financial crises, usually because members of all classes
      (member governments, NGOs, and individual members) do not keep up
      their dues -- they start to take the services and advocacy of CCA for
      granted and they know little or nothing about the multiple extra
      costs of environmental advocacy in a era of big-bucks-speak-loudest
      development strategies.

      Because I think CCA is so important, I'm supporting ALL the staff
      and employees of Island Resources to become individual members of
      CCA, in addition to our long-standing organizational membership.
      Dues are only US$25 for a calendar year, mailed to

      Caribbean Conservation Association
      Chelford House,
      Bush Hill, The Garrison
      St. Michael's, BARBADOS

      Please join me in this effort.

      Bruce Potter


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