The Caribbean Regional Oceanscape Project (CROP) is a project of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), funded by the Global Environment Facility through the World Bank, which intends to move the Caribbean towards a blue economy. It is planned in alignment with Eastern Caribbean Regional Ocean Policy (ECROP), 2013.
The CROP is being implemented in Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts, Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent, and the Grenadines. It tries to reinforce Ocean Governance and the Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning in these five Member States and build up a Regional Marine Spatial Planning Framework for the more extensive OECS area. The CROP was initiated in October 2017 and is supposed to close on December 31, 2021.
The undertaking includes three elements: The first element is to fortifying ocean governance through (a) advancement of coastal and marine spatial plans (CMSP) and related training, and (b) development of national ocean methodologies and participating nations and upgraded alignment of Eastern Caribbean territorial ocean policy (ECROP) with the 2030 progression plan and ongoing multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs).
The second element is to reinforcing information and the capacity of citizens and organizations for ocean governance. The third element is to ensure viable project management, monitoring, and final project assessment.
The CROP went through a midterm survey in the period of September 2019 to January 2020. The midterm audit report features various vital messages, including ‘The Caribbean Regional Oceanscape Project (CROP), signifying a crucial innovative long-time process to build up a sustainable blue economy in the OECS area.”
Some of the significant developments of CROP in recent times are the following: The International Finance Corporation (IFC), member of the World Bank Group, and the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), that seek to extend access to fund for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU), through a Secured Transactions Collateral Registry Program. A webinar series has been conducted under The OECS Blue Economic: A webinar entitled ‘Many People One Sea: Making our Ocean Space more user friendly’ focused on Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning.
Under the Caribbean Regional Oceanscape Project (CROP), coastal and marine spatial plans are being created for Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. This is important for an overall trust to enable the OECS to transform into a Blue Economy.
The Government of New Zealand and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission had reinforced their cooperation on environmental sustainability to incorporate the region of geothermal energy development. New Zealand and the OECS Commission joined hands to convey a study on potential opportunities for the direct utilization of geothermal energy outside of electricity generation across OECS nations. This cooperation intended to provide an asset to OECS policymakers on advancement opportunities and conceptualize pilot ventures, distinguishing the resources needed to propel them.
The OECS Member States, commonly classified as Small Island Developing States (SIDS), have been encouraged to change the outlook towards large ocean states. The OECS divulged several Blue Economy investment opportunities on the first day of its Sustainable Development Movement (SDM 2020). Blue Economy Investment Portfolio involves ten regional venture ideas, five regions of interest for private sector investment, and a range of national intercessions recognized by the OECS Member States as needs for execution was underlined. The underpinning of a Biosphere Resources Research Facility, a Marine Services Training School, Blue Economy Incubator, and Accelerator program was proposed.
Closely following the profoundly fruitful SDM 2020 – Blue Economy Investors Roundtable, the OECS is set to have the third and last in its current Blue Economy webinar arrangement. The webinar titled ‘Healthy Oceans for current and future generations’ people were held and centered on the functioning of Monitoring and Compliance in ensuring sustainable utilization of ocean assets in the OECS.
The OECS Commission perceives that the citizen and media accomplices’ involvement and cooperation in developing policies and strategies are vital to accomplishing more fair dispersion of benefits to all. A virtual press conference named ‘Blue Economy Champions for our Blue Growth Future’ was held. It was an opportunity for the citizen and the media accomplices to meet the CROP Team, the CMSP Consultants and gain further insight into the Project ahead of the forthcoming round of in-nation consultations.
Further, achieving a wave of success from its debut Blue Economy Investors Roundtable at the OECS Sustainable Development Movement (SDM 2020), the Caribbean Regional Oceanscape Project (CROP), being implemented under the OECS Ocean Governance and Fisheries Program, has published a milestone document “We Are Large Ocean States” on Blue Economy and Ocean Governance in the Eastern Caribbean.
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