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One Grenada, Many Voices: Telling the Story of People and Ecosystems

25 November 2020
Screenshot 2020 11 25 At 12.05.43

 

Known as the ‘Spice Isle’, Grenada’s people and economy are closely intertwined with nature. Rich in cultural and biological diversity, this island state is committed to safeguarding nature’s contributions to wellbeing and development. This commitment is strengthened by the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 
Lying within the Caribbean biodiversity hotspot, Grenada’s rich and diverse ecosystems face growing pressures that threaten the benefits that nature brings to people and the economy. This is why the Government of Grenada is working with CANARI to conduct its first National Ecosystem Assessment.

A National Ecosystem Assessment is a country-wide process that combines science and local knowledge to support effective policymaking on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Grenada is one of twelve countries conducting ecosystem assessments with UNEP-WCMC’s National Ecosystem Assessment Initiative and is under the umbrella of UNDP’s Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Network.

Grenada’s National Ecosystem Assessment is driven by stakeholders. Consultations take place with communities across the country, reflecting diverse knowledge systems and relationships with nature. From farmers and fisherfolk to divers and police officers, Grenadians of all backgrounds and ages have discussed how they rely on nature, how nature has changed in the last 10 years, and what changes they predict in the future.

The first milestone of the assessment was recently completed with inputs from local communities, governmental organisations, businesses, NGOs and academics. Critical policy questions were identified to guide the scope of Grenada’s National Ecosystem Assessment, including:

Digital storytelling in action

Engaging with stakeholders and experts is more difficult with the impacts of COVID-19 on health and travel. While most in-person meetings and interviews have been postponed to 2021, CANARI has already embraced the power of storytelling and digital tools for community engagement.

In January 2020, a national mobile phone video competition encouraged stakeholders to creatively share their knowledge and perspectives on Grenada’s ecosystems. During earlier community consultations, many were trained on using mobile phones for data collection and advocacy. As a result, more community members could take part in the video competition and contribute local and indigenous knowledge to Grenada’s National Ecosystem Assessment.

This innovative use of digital tools for storytelling and knowledge-sharing was timely for Grenada’s assessment given the onset of COVID-19 in the Caribbean. Whether in-person or remotely, experts and stakeholders can continue contributing their knowledge to address critical policy questions on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Grenada’s National Ecosystem Assessment findings will be ready for policymakers across sectors by 2023, to support better decisions and plans for people and for nature.

The National Ecosystem Assessment Initiative receives financial support of the German Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety (BMU) through the International Climate Initiative (IKI).

 

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Interested in implementing a National Ecosystem Assessment in your country? Contact UNEP-WCMC’s Assessments Team for more information about our support: assessment@unep-wcmc.org