In early December, AWI’s executive director, Susan Millward, attended meetings of the Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region (the “Cartagena Convention”). Susan and AWI have long been engaged in these biennial meetings of the Cartagena Convention, which was adopted in 1983 and entered into force in 1986 as a means to legally implement the Action Plan for the United Nations’ Caribbean Environment Programme. The convention is the only regional legal framework for the protection of the area that encompasses those countries with a coast on the Caribbean Sea. There are currently 25 countries, including the United States, that have ratified the Cartagena Convention and have pledged to protect, develop and manage their common marine environment individually and jointly.
The December meetings marked more than 30 years since the treaty was first adopted, and fittingly were held in the same location—Cartagena de Indias, Columbia. They resulted in (1) adoption of a document—one that Susan helped to develop—outlining the process by which exemptions to the Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW) Protocol of the Convention are taken, and (2) the addition of several species to the SPAW Annexes. A work plan for the coming biennial was also developed at the meeting.