The CATS Programme is the result of a merger of two initially, separately conceptualised projects (now 'Programme Components 1 and 2), namely on "Adaptation of Rural Economies and Natural Resources to Climate Change" and on the "Management of Coastal Resources and Conservation of Marine Biodiversity in the Caribbean". CATS applies an integrated Ridge-to-Reef Approach (RtR), and as a whole addresses the increasing vulnerability of Caribbean SIDS and Low-lying Coastal States to climate change and the attendant negative impacts on coastal communities and economies, ecosystems (terrestrial and coastal/marine), and coastal natural resources management.

Caribbean Aqua-Terrestrial Solutions (CATS)

CATS Component 1 Adaptation of Rural Economies and Natural Resources to Climate Change CATS Component 2 Management of Coastal Resources and Conservation of Marine Biodiversity

CATS is implemented jointly between the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the German Development Cooperation (GIZ, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) and the programme's national (focal) partner institutions in the Countries. It is implemented from January 2012 until December 2015.

The Situation of Coastal and Marine Environment and Environmental Management

The region of the Western Indies and the Gulf of Mexico is a recognised marine and coastal biodiversity hotspot. At the same time, the Caribbean is one of the world's eco-regions extremely affected by excessive resources over-use and negative environmental impacts from climate change. The coastal marine ecosystems of the Caribbean, and in particular its coral reefs are already today among the most threatened on a global scale. In this respect, most affected are in particular the 15 coastal and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) forming the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Their essential economic sectors like tourism and fisheries and thus their economies as a whole are highly dependent on the intactness Caribbean Aqua-Terrestrial Solutions (CATS) CATS Component 1 Adaptation of Rural Economies and Natural Resources to Climate Change CATS Component 2 Management of Coastal Resources and Conservation of Marine Biodiversity 4 and productivity of the coastal and marine environment, both in terms of direct resource use as well as regarding the use of services deriving from these environments. Given the critical exposure of the economies of the countries and larger parts of their population to these negative effects, their connection with sustainable income generation and poverty reduction at large scale is obvious.

It is today generally accepted that reaching sustainable solutions in an efficient manner is within the principles and approaches of Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM). At the same time, the central importance of Marine Managed Areas (MMAs) is undisputed and this approach has been taken at almost 80 locations in the Caribbean to date. While ICZM at national levels is in its infancy in most CARICOM Countries, it is in fact the management of the numerous MMAs in the region that does not only have direct positive effects on the ecosystems and their resources, but at the same time does serve as small-scale pilot templates to learn from towards the bigger national scale. MMAs, when large enough and chosen to strengthen resilience against the effects of climate change, and if managed properly and sustainably, are just a smaller image of the larger picture. The CATS Programme does intervene at this logical point, intending to support the bridging between MMAs and national-scale ICZM.

CATS Programme Component 2 is built around two principal approaches, which are

  1. The provision of advisory technical support over the entire range of issues and problems associated with sustainable MPA management and its linkage and integration into ICZM, and
  2. The provision of financial support to demonstration and pilot projects and activities of identified importance for the sustainable improvement of financial management of at least 5 MPAs in the CATS region.

Whenever possible, the inclusion of public-private partnership mechanisms (PPP) is specifically supported in the programme as PPP is seen as one of the keys to sustainable MMA management and ICZM in general. All CATS support is gender sensitive with a specific emphasis on management, empowerment and economic participation of women.

CATS Component 2 Indicators

The Overall Objective of CATS Component 2 is 'The management of existing Marine Protected Areas in selected CARICOM member states is improved´. The Specific Indicators of CATS C2 are

  1. At least 5 Marine Protected Areas (MPA) in the participating CARICOM states are sustainably managed under agreed management plans and integrating among others climate change and gender aspects
  2. In at least 5 MPAs in the project region, sustainable financing mechanisms are implemented as part of MPA management plans
  3. CARICOM Regional MPA Management Guidelines are developed