REEFFIX: AN ICZM CORAL REEF RESTORATION, WATERSHED MANAGEMENT AND CAPACITY BUILDING DEMONSTRATION PROJECT FOR THE CARIBBEAN
The Organization of American States teamed up with the Antigua Barbuda Environmental Awareness Group (EAG), the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, through the Fisheries Division and the Environment Division to strengthen effective management of the North East Marine Management Area (NEMMA). Activities include capacity building, public education and awareness with a focus on children/youth, and supporting alternative livelihoods in the NEMMA and Barbuda. The focus on children and youth promotes the Blue Economy to include safety at sea activities and beach clean-up -- allowing the children and youth to come together to discuss and form a part of the governance structure, engage in research and innovation that supports resilience, food security, and healthy oceans -- leading to economic diversification and shared prosperity.
Youth engage in advocacy of the blue economy with various government departments that provide internship and exchange programs to build a skilled work force. The Seeing Blue-Youth Program is made up of children coming to the beach for swimming, beach cleanup, discussion and includes art, essay writing, creative videos, thereby creating a wide and fully inclusive education of the ocean. Competitions for inclusiveness knowledge, empowerment and immersion-diving activities are promoted. The Seeing Blue promotes a Young Ocean Champions Award and related outreach to mainstream the SDG’s. The events include minimizing beach litter to reduce 90% plastics, speaking with fisherfolk around ocean issues, connection to a hot line to report infractions and hear the voices of the stakeholders. The outputs include swimming lessons, kayaking and snorkeling. Scaled up leadership training and mentoring is provided and information disseminated through press blogs and media speaking opportunities, sponsorship and support using social media. Outcomes are reduced beach rubbish, plastics, styrofoam, face washes, sunscreens, toothbrushes in marine areas.
Partnerships with the MEPA Trust, South Coast Horizons, Galley Bay and other hotels are supporting marine conservation and educational activities and promote the Adopt a Coastline program in collaboration with the Department of the Environment, the Fisheries Division, the Community Development Division and the Barbuda Agricultural Community Development Organization
Overall, the project enhances coastal zone management policies and practices in NEMMA and Barbuda. Local managers in cross cutting activities build on local interest in, for example, sea turtle conservation and local sustainable tourism.