Test Design Lighthouse

Sustainable Integrated Development and Biodiversity Conservation

Partner: Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies, Barbados, weitere NGOs

Beteiligte: Die Bevölkerung von St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Ökologie: Erhaltung und Wiederherstellung einer intakten Meeresumwelt

Ökonomie: Entwicklung von Einkommensquellen für die Küstenbewohner in verschiedenen Bereichen

Soziales: Förderung der Selbstorganisation, Stärkung der Zivilgesellschaft


  • Anleitung lokaler NGO bei Selbstverwaltung, Entwicklung und Umsetzung der Arbeitsziele
  • Einführung eines MPA Co-Management
  • Förderung kultureller und sozialer Aktivitäten
  • Förderung umweltbezogenen Aktivitäten
  • Betrieb eines Netzwerkes gemeinnütziger Organisationen
  • Förderung des Informationsaustausches durch Medien
  • Förderung von Bildung und Kommunikationsfähigkeit
  • Entwicklung von Tätigkeitsfeldern für die lokale Bevölkerung im Rahmen von Miniprojekten
  • Politische Lobbyarbeit

The Grenadine Islands

The stunningly beautiful Grenadine islands lie on the Grenadine Bank extending some 120 km between Grenada and St. Vincent in the Caribbean. About half of the islands have permanent settlements, three are resort islands and most others are visited by yachters, and fishers.


The entire Grenadines area is noted for its beautiful scenery, spectacular beaches and diverse marine habitats. All islands have a variety of surrounding fringing, patch and barrier reefs, and there are numerous offshore reef shoals on the bank. There are reef-related seagrass and lagoon habitats and areas of extensive mangrove forests.

The emerging view by many is that the entire area should be declared a World Heritage Conservation Site.


Livelihoods in the Grenadines

Marine-based activities are the mainstay of the Grenadines’ economy. Tourism is a major source of employment and tourism development is proceeding rapidly. Resorts, hotels, guest houses, restaurants, SCUBA dive operators, day and longer-term cruise operators, crafts and shops provide livelihoods for many who live there. Fishing is the other major source of employment in the area and has long been a source of exports to neighbouring islands.



The cays and bays of the Grenadines islands are popular with yachters. Inappropriate mooring and anchoring practices, lack of sewage holding tanks on some yachts and unavailability of garbage disposal services often lead to environmental degradation.
Small hotels and guest houses in the Grenadines are an important component of the tourism product but owing to their size, they may lack the capacity to use appropriate environmentally friendly practices.

Environmental pressures in a transboundary region

The Grenadines straddle the boundary between two countries: St. Vincent and the Grenadines to the north and Grenada to the south, yet the linkages among them on both sides of the boundary are historically strong and continue to be active. Fishing, informal trade, tourism and island social life proceed with little attention to the boundary.


The governments of both countries perceive their Grenadine Islands as having a high potential for earning foreign exchange through tourism and associated development. Both Governments also recognise the high vulnerability of the marine and terrestrial resource systems of the area to environmental degradation through unsustainable livelihoods.


Unplanned development and unregulated use of terrestrial and marine habitats and resources have already led to significant degradation in many areas. There are problems with:

  • Overfishing,
  • Near shore habitat destruction and degradation,
  • Terrestrial devegetation and overgrazing,
  • Sedimentation,
  • Solid waste disposal from land and boat sources,
  • Sewage disposal from land and boat sources,
  • Recreational abuse of coral reefs.


Future Development

In the Grenadines there is no integrated plan within which to pursue development and conservation. In most cases, development is taking place haphazardly and both governmental and non-governmental organisations lack the capacity to develop an integrated framework or to participate fully in its development.



Sustainable Integrated Development and Biodiversity Conservation

The Sustainable Grenadines Project is based on the idea that in the Grenadines, civil society partners are the least able to participate in bringing about change that is equitable and lasting. The project therefore focuses on strengthening civil society so that it can better play its role. The project places emphasis on the conservation of biological diversity especially through it associated project activities.


The Sustainable Grenadines Project is implemented through collaboration among:

  • The Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES), UWI, Barbados
  • The Carriacou Environmental Committee, Grenada
  • Projects Promotion Lt., St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • The Caribbean Conservation Association, Barbados
  • The Governments of Grenada and St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Numerous Grenadines NGOs.


The achievements of the project are highlighted below:


Meeting of the "Vision"-Group on Canouan in September 2002
Fishing is a key component of the Grenadines economy and lobsters, conch and finfish are important inputs to the tourism industry. Unfortunately overharvesting has depleted most of these resources, especially near to shore.
Diving is a main attraction in the Grenadines and provides income for numerous dive shops and associated businesses. However, coral reefs have a limited capacity for SCUBA diving that must be observed to prevent reef degradation.

Project Implementation Unit

The Project Implementation Unit was established with two staff in Union Island. Its purposes are to implement core activities and to pursue funding for and facilitate implementation of associated projects. Sector planning workshops bring together stakeholders around a common interest or theme, to share their ideas and discuss the way forward. They have been a catalyst for the development of project proposals and associated projects.


There have been four workshops on — regattas, water taxis operators, green schools and fishing. Over 60 participants from across the islands have taken part in these workshops.


Training Workshops

The numerous Grenadines non-governmental organizations (NGOs), community-based organizations (CBOs) and social groups are eager to make a difference but are uncertain what to do to ensure their organizations are functional and have an impact. SusGren provides training to help them. There have been 6 training workshops with approximately 220 participants, Training has been offered in — leadership, record keeping, office procedures, basic accounting, conflict management, negotiation skills and proposal writing, effective communication, strategic planning and visioning.



Mini-projects provide small NGOs, or groups of NGOs, the opportunity to implement a small project, valued at about US$2,000. This component is a means to achieve visible outputs in many islands while building the capacity of the groups in project implementation.


There have been 16 mini-projects in 5 of the Grenadine islands. The projects focused on coastal or beach enhancement, fishing skills and enhancing the community. Four school clubs, seven NGOs/CBOs and one government agency implemented these projects.


Some mini-projects were pioneer efforts: The Petite Martinique Island/Village Signs Project provided the first signs on the island while follow-up to enhancement of Diablo Beach in Union Island aims at designation as a National Park.



Attachments and exchanges promote learning-by-doing and expose members of active NGOs to best practices in the region. Fourteen persons from eight NGOs have benefited from attachments like sailing instruction, water taxi association strengthening, seamoss farming, heritage park development, nature trail development, MPA monitoring and NGO development.


Institutional Self-Assessments

The project approach to training for NGOs has evolved and adapted The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) Institutional Self-Assessment Tool (ISA) to the Grenadines. They have informed the strategic development of training workshops for capacity building. TNC was a primary supporter of this effort. Institutional Self-Assessments have been completed for 11 NGOs.



SusGren fosters linkages among Grenadines stakeholders to increase awareness of the project and its aims. There have been 11 quarterly newsletters, the project’s e-group has a membership of 207 persons. All project reports and publications are available at the project website. The project has been promoted on radio and television and in newspapers, magazines.


Associated Projects

The Sustainable Grenadines Project has partnered with local, regional and international organizations to bring associated projects to the Grenadines and increase the total value of the Project beyond the funding provided by The Lighthouse Foundation. Over 10 projects have been initiated and several completed, e.g. the Water Taxi Project and the People and Corals Project (see below). The Sustainable Grenadines Project’s role has ranged from full implementation to facilitating projects of other agencies.


Water Taxi Project

The Water Taxi Project addressed several aspects of the daily operation of water taxis and especially their potential to negatively impact the environment. It strengthened the capacity of water taxi operators to act as environmental stewards while earning a livelihood on the sea. The project was funded by The Global Environment Facility Small Grant Fund (GEF/SMF) and The European Union (through Counterpart Caribbean). It was implemented by the Carriacou Environmental Committee in collaboration with the Southern Grenadines Water Taxi Association and the Carriacou and Petite Martinique Water Taxi Association.


Water taxi operators were trained in green boat operation, environmental stewardship and safety at sea. Two water taxi associations were provided with office space and equipment. Water taxi association members were trained in leadership, record keeping, office procedures and basic accounting, conflict management and negotiation skills.

About 362 persons received training.


People and Corals Project

This project promoted coral reef conservation throughout the islands by introducing coral reef conservation concepts and approaches in primary schools. The project was funded by National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the UNEP Caribbean Environmental Programme, Jamaica.


Each of 18 schools received 25 copies of the ‘People and Corals’ workbook. Twenty-four teachers from across the Grenadines and the main islands were trained to use the workbook and were briefed about environmental education.


MPA Management Effectiveness

This was part of a regional initiative of CERMES, funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It evaluated marine protected area (MPA) management at three MPAs one of which was the Tobago Cays Marine Park (TCMP). Stakeholders at the 2005 workshop ‘Enhancing the management effectiveness of the TCMP’ committed to implementing activities to improve the effectiveness of management. A follow-up activity was the adaptation of Negril MPA’s Junior Rangers Programme to the TCMP.


Reef Check Training and Monitoring

Reef Check is part of the global initiative to monitor the health of coral reefs in areas of limited economic resources. The reef sites in the Grenadines are monitored bi-annually. The project is funded by Reef Check. Divers in St. Vincent, Mustique and Union Island were trained in Reef Check methodology for reef survey and monitoring. Ten sites in the Grenadines are being monitored.


Grenadines bibliography

Information on the environment, sustainable development, culture and anthropology of the Grenadines islands is widely scattered in the literature. Grenadine Islanders often find it difficult to access the information needed to make informed decisions about their own development. This project compile this information to make it easily accessible to local community. The project is funded by CERMES and The Lighthouse Foundation. ‘Annotated Bibliographic Information on the Grenadines’ was produced in booklet and CD form.


Ashton Lagoon Restoration

The project aims to restore and ensure sustainable use of the Ashton Lagoon area. Key stakeholders met at the Ashton Lagoon Restoration Project planning workshop to develop the ‘Ashton Lagoon Restoration and Union Island Sustainable Tourism Project‘ and an internet discussion group — the ‘Friends of Ashton Lagoon’. The project is being implemented by the Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds (SCSCB) in collaboration with Sustainable Grenadines Project and CERMES. Thus far some outcomes from the project include production and distribution of bird cards, mangrove booklets and field guides from SCSCB, distribution of binoculars and bird watching books from SCSCB as well as an awareness brochure on Aston Lagoon.


Marine Space Use Information System (MarSIS)

The aim of the project is to aid marine space use planning in the Grenadines by compiling information on marine space use that can be used in identifying areas for special coastal and marine management attention. The project is being undertaken by PhD student Ms. Kimberly Baldwin and is funded by CERMES, UWI and The Nature Conservancy. Results are an inventory of various marine resource users such as fishermen and yachters, the creation of local maps for each Grenadine island indicating local names of beaches, bays and cays given by communities.


OECS Protected Areas and Associated Livelihoods Project (OPAAL)

The OPAAL project seeks to conserve biodiversity of global importance by removing barriers to effective management of protected areas, and increasing civil society and private sector involvement in the planning, management and sustainable use of these areas. The OPAAL project for St. Vincent and the Grenadines focuses on establishing the Tobago Cays Marine Park. The SG Project staff were involved in many of the activities, workshops and project developments.


Sandy Island Oyster Bed (SIOB) MPA and the Tobago Cays Marine Park (TCMP)

MPAs are valuable tools for the protection of marine resources in the Grenadines. SusGren has been a key facilitator through improving the operation and management structure of TCMP and also in the establishment of a new MPA-SIOBMPA in Carriacou. To date a declaration letter and associated documents have been submitted to Cabinet to officially declare the SIOB as a marine protected area.


Seamoss farming

This project aims to provide an opportunity for sustainable local economic development through seamoss mariculture and processing. The project is funded by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and is implemented by the Young Help Striders 4-H Club (Ashton, Union Island) Sustainable Grenadines Project and CERMES.


The results are the training and seeding of two modules from technical expertise and community meeting in Ashton to sensitize the residents about seamoss farming. The project is working with St. Vincent Fisheries Department to get full support of the project. Over 80 pounds of dry seamoss has been accumulated for sale.


Supporting Research

CERMES students have conducted their research in the Grenadines between 2005 and 2007 adding to the knowledge base available for sustainable development:

  • Water taxi livelihoods (Alexcia Cooke, 2005)
  • Environmentally friendly boat practices (Dominique Lizama, 2005);
  • Environmental legislation (Indira Mattai, 2006)
  • Environmental practices in the accommodation sector (Christine George, 2006)
  • Fisheries livelihoods (Tanya Staskiewicz, 2006)
  • Fisheries socio-economic profiling (David Gill, 2006)
  • Land-based sources of pollution (Eugene Williams - ongoing)


Baseline surveys

Baseline surveys were conducted in three areas — Environmental awareness, social and economic conditions, and social networking — these will prove a basis for assessing the impacts of the project.


Activities facilitated or supported

Caribbean Environmental Health Institute, CEHI: water conservation and harvesting

UNESCO: indigenous plant inventory and training workshop




Dr. Robin Mahon

Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies

University of the West Indies

Cave Hill Campus


West Indies



The Grenadines are a Caribbean island chain of over 600 islands in the Windward Islands. They are divided between the island nations of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada.