Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 12, 2018 (SKNIS): The Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP) has issued a call for proposals for UNDP/UNEP Project Integrating Water, Land and Ecosystems Management in Caribbean Small Island Developing States (IWEco).

The UNEP/UNDP IWEco Project, which is a five-year multi-focal area regional project, aims to mitigate and improve poverty, inequality, and exclusion concerns for the Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Its objective is to contribute to the preservation of Caribbean ecosystems that are of global significance and the sustainability of livelihoods through the application of existing proven technologies and approaches that are appropriate for small island developing states.

Ilis Watts, National Coordinator, GEF Small Grants Programme, St. Kitts and Nevis (SGPSKN), explained why it is important to roll out an initiative such as this one in the Caribbean.

“The Caribbean Region is home to many of the world’s Small Island Developing States (SIDS) that are considered vulnerable to external market shocks and global pressures on account of their generally small landmass. The SIDS have a particular land to sea ratio in common. The size of their exclusive economic zones (EEZ) is often many times larger than their land area,” she said.

Ms. Watts offered words of encouragement to interested persons.

“As usual, we say, please apply.  If you are part of a group that meets the criteria, we encourage you to speak to us.  We are asking that groups be active, meaning: one, be registered for at least one year, with any legal national registry in the Federation, and two, at least one community project attempted and/ or community fund raising activity done,” Ms. Watts said. “We have funded over 35 projects in the Federation, so we have a good track record of supporting communities.”

SGP Serving as a Delivery Mechanism for the GEF-IWEco Project IWEco builds on the work of the GEF-IWCAM Project, and has a long-term goal of enhancing the sustainable contribution of ecosystem services to ensure a sustainable socio-economic development in the Caribbean. IWEco will apply a Ridge to Reef approach – integrating watershed and coastal areas management – to address the multiple challenges of sustainable water, land (including forests) and biodiversity management and conservation within the watershed unit.

Focus Areas for Project proposals for St Kitts and Nevis include Land degradation and Marine preservation, while the priorities issues and activities include Water harvesting and storage, and Reduction in the effects of quarry run-off on the marine environment.

Ms. Watts stated that the grant allocation for SGP St Kitts and Nevis to fund the grant activities of the Integrating Water, Land and Ecosystems Management in Caribbean Small Island Developing States Project (IWECO) is USD 87,500.