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On March 6, the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund (CBF) and 4 Participating National Conservation Trust Funds (NCTFs) got together in Miami for their first meeting of 2017. The funds were the Marine Ecosystem Protected Area Trust Fund (MEPA) of Antigua and Barbuda, Fondo Marena (FM) of the Dominican Republic, the St. Vincent and the Grenadines National Conservation Fund (SVGCF), and the Saint Lucia National Conservation Fund (SLUNCF). The objectives of the meeting were to (i) discuss with the NCTFs their lessons learnt and current gaps as they move towards full establishment; and (ii) share experiences on how each fund is applying the Conservation Trust Funds Practice Standards and particularly those in the areas of governance, operations, administration and reporting, and monitoring & evaluation.

The workshop was coordinated by CBF NCTF Specialists Karen McDonald Gayle and Camila Monteiro. The CBF’s CEO, Yabanex Batista, noted that the meeting was not only a good start towards the organisation’s target of ensuring cross learning and networking among the new funds, but also providing them with additional tools to aid them in their development.

In addition to the Caribbean NCTFs meeting, the group also participated in a Regional Financing Platforms Exchange Workshop with PACÍFICO (a regional platform of four environmental funds that operate in the Eastern Tropical Pacific) and the MAR Fund (the Mesoamerican Reef Fund, which also works in four countries). Through this exchange, Caribbean NCTFs had the opportunity to discuss and learn how other regional financing platforms for marine conservation are structured and organized as well as discuss lessons learnt, and common capacity needs and priority areas.

As a result of the workshops the NCTFs will be using the information shared to develop their individual strategic and action plans towards becoming fully operational CBF Partner Funds.

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