Aware of the vital stakes of biodiversity preservation in the Caribbean and of the need for collective action, the States of the Wider Caribbean Region gathered under the auspices of the UN to launch the Caribbean Environment Program and elaborate the Convention for the protection and development of marine environment in the Wider Caribbean Region. Signed in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, in 1983, this regional Convention is divided in three protocols, of which one is specifically dedicated to the protection of the region’s biodiversity : the Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW) Protocol, signed in 1990 in Kingston, Jamaica.
The Convention’s secretariat is provided by the Regional Coordination Unit of the United Nation’s Environment Program (UNEP-RAC/RCU) based in Kingston, Jamaica. His role is to coordinate the program and the actions for the protection of the Caribbean seas. For this purpose, the UNEP-RAC/RCU is assisted by Regional Activity Centers (RAC) that provide scientific and technical support, contribute to fundraising and elaborate projects. These RAC are run by different signatory States of the Convention. Thus, the SPAW-RAC is run by France.