Barbados could woo more tourists by signing onto the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), an international environmental treaty that has so far not enticed many Caribbean governments.
That was the message officials of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), under which the CMS falls, have brought to Barbados as they seek to convince the Freundel Stuart administration to become a signatory to the convention.
They staged a workshop at Accra Beach Resort this week in conjunction with the Sustainable Development Programme of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat.
Project Coordinator of the CARICOM Secretariat’s Sustainable Development Programme Dr Therese Yarde told Barbados TODAY that signing on to the convention could have a positive impact on ecotourism here and in the rest of the Caribbean.
“One of the participants here said that on her first visit to Barbados she swam with the sea turtles and she enjoyed that . . . There is migratory bird watching in the Bahamas, and in Belize you can swim with sharks. These are significant tourist attractions,” she said.
“So if we conserve these species better, I think it can be a significant tourism attraction for the islands of the region.”
UNEP’s Programme Officer for International Governance in the Division of Environmental Law and Conventions Francisco Rilla told Barbados TODAY the convention was an important agreement involving 124 parties, but the Caribbean’s participation had been low.
“We are trying to promote the convention in this region, which is important in terms of diversity and migratory species,” he said, noting that the aim of the workshop was to raise awareness of of the importance of the CMS, so the delegates could return to their respective countries and promote to their governments the benefits of protecting migratory species.
“It is a very, very important area in terms of conservation and we need to be very, very active, not just for the Caribbean, but around the world.”
Dr Yarde disclosed that a representative from Barbados was among Caribbean delegates who requested more information on the CMS so they could make informed decisions.
“One of the things that countries said was that they need a bit more concrete information. For example, what are the migratory species that are found in the Caribbean and the migration routes that they take? So each country knows which kinds of species we are looking at, they know what times of the year the various species come to their country,” the CARICOM official said.
“Dr Yarde added that the countries also requested technical support on how to share scientific information about the species.
“They perhaps want some projects to build capacity and raise awareness in their countries. So those are things we would be working with the CMS Secretariat to support the best we can,” she said.