The Caribbean islands are one of the most important biodiversity hotspots in the world. Studies (Myers et al, 2000) show that the exceptional diversity of ecosystems in the area make the Caribbean islands one of the 7 points with the highest concentration of biodiversity.
The establishment of a Caribbean Biological Corridor in the insular Caribbean provides an appropriate platform for collaboration among all initiatives being developed or that could be developed within the limits of the Caribbean Biological Corridor (CBC), thereby driving long-term integration of conservation actions between island states and thus contributing to the preservation of global biodiversity.
The CBC , therefore, provides a framework for cooperation among the countries of the insular Caribbean for protecting and reducing the loss of biodiversity, by rehabilitating the environment, developing livelihood alternatives -particularly in Haiti-, and alleviating poverty as a mean to reduce the pressure on biological resources.
For the Caribbean Biological Corridor, the pressure that biological resources are suffering due to natural factors is compounded by human action and, on occasion, their uncontrolled use of the ecosystem. The fragility of the ecosystem richness has been aggravated in recent years due to the poverty in which the inhabitants of the area live, and due to the lack of resources made available to provide alternative livelihoods those communities. Significantly, the Corridor area is characterized by a high density of inhabitants per square km, compounding the destructive effect of human activity on biodiversity of the area (see the table below).
Table: (WWF 2011)
For now, the area delineated as the Caribbean Biological Corridor includes three countries: Haiti, Cuba and Dominican Republic. These countries are very vulnerable to extreme weather such as hurricanes and tropical storms. Haiti in particular has been the most affected by a natural phenomenon: the earthquake that caused massive destruction in 2010. On the other hand the three countries share other traits as its connectivity and its potential for regional cooperation, both with regard to technology transfer and training tools and the methodologies transfer for the improvement of the environmental sustainability.
Finally, it should be stressed that the cooperation between Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, with respect to the establishment of the Caribbean Biological Corridor is being advanced with the financial support from the European Commission and UNEP. This support is contributing to preserve the Caribbean biodiversity, which in turn contributes directly to two of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): eradicate extreme poverty and ensure environmental sustainability on earth.
For more information, please contact Blanca Romañá, UNEP Information Officer, at email@example.com.