On October 15, the Smart Coasts project conducted a side event in the framework of the III Latin American and Caribbean Congress on Protected Areas, held in Lima, Peru. This event was organized by WWF together with one of the partners of the project: the Natural Protected Areas National Commission (CONANP). A representative from the Sarteneja Alliance for Conservation and Development, one of the community-based organizations that is part of the project, also participated.
“Natural protected areas, coastal management and climate change adaptation” was the topic addressed in this event that was also an opportunity to make a public launch of the project, aimed at environmental organizations, technical and scientific practitioners in Latin America and the Caribbean.
During two hours and through different presentations, a video showcasing the project activities and an open discussion panel, the project was introduced and the participants provided feedback to improve its implementation.
The project has carried out carried out analyses of climate change and coastal ecosystem risk based on scientific data and information collected through baseline research, and inputs from researchers, managers, and local communities and stakeholders. The analyses entailed the modelling of coastal habitat risks, tourism benefits and impacts, and the impacts posed to the coast from watershed derived sedimentation.
As a follow-up to these set of analyses, the project is carrying out workshops throughout the Mesoamerican Reef countries with local communities and stakeholders to co-validate findings with these target groups as well as to help identify potential adaptation options to help address risk to communities and the ecosystems they depend upon. The models were discussed among participants in each case, to determine if these reflect the local reality and some recommendations have been provided as a feedback for improvement.
These local workshops will be complemented with others that will be held in 2020, to validate reults in other locations and with other stakeholders.
A set of education materials was designed for communities located within the project intervention areas, for them to have a better understanding of the potential impacts of climate change in coastal areas. This is a first approach to communities to bring them general information of these consequences and some initial adaptation actions.
At a later stage, when the project has confirmed precise information on specific adaptation measures for these areas, new education materials will be delivered so that communities are better prepared.
This kit was developed, and custom made for the project and is formed by different materials, such as a flipchart to be used as a support for facilitators, educational posters, an interactive game and a portable wall display.
Three critical threats that could compromise the resilience of coral reefs to climate change are pollution, sargassum spread and the recently appeared stony coral tissue loss disease. These are known to cause die-off of reef corals and fish, reduction in reef productivity, disruption in local food and tourism opportunities, and decreasing habitat for marine organisms. The Smart Coast project has realized the risk posed by these threats and, in response, collaborated with the Belize International Film Festival (BelizeIFF), MARFUND and other partners to host a national Green Globe Panel Discussion to foster exchange on how best to address the risks and impacts posed by these threats.
The Panel Discussion was held on November 7th in Belize City. It was a three hours event with the following panel discussion themes: Phase-out of Single-use plastic and Styrofoam: Greener Choices; Sargassum - Impacts and Control Measures and Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTDL) Infestation and Action Plan.
Panelists included representation from the Belize Government, private sector, civil society, researchers and NGOs.