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Tuesday, January 17, 2006 

OECS to advance work on
Monday January 16 2006

Next week Antigua & Barbuda will join representatives of six islands of the OECS that are part of a special project aimed at developing and managing selected protected areas, for their first collective working session in St. Lucia.

The two-day workshop, scheduled for 17-18 Jan. at the Cara Suites Conference Room in Castries, forms part of preparatory stages to move forward two major components of the OECS Protected Areas and Associated Livelihoods (OPAAL) project, which was launched in participating member states in December 2004.

The workshop, “Designing Tools for Monitoring and Evaluating the Effectiveness of Protected Areas in the OECS” will be hosted by the OECS Secretariat and is expected to produce two critical outputs - the development of a model format for systems plans and an approved set of tools for monitoring and evaluation of protected areas.

In their attempt to achieve these outputs, participants will focus their discussions on systems planning for protected areas and will assess existing systems plans in the OECS and the wider Caribbean with a view to creating a harmonised prototype to be applied in all OPAAL participating member states.

The group will identify and agree on a collection of tools that will be most appropriate to monitor and evaluate the demonstration sites selected for OPAAL, throughout the project cycle and beyond.

The workshop is expected to bring together some eighteen participants, including people involved in the implementation of OPAAL in the respective OECS states and representatives from Ministries of the Environment within States currently on the OPAAL Project Steering Committee.

The overall aim of the OPAAL project is to contribute to the conservation of biodiversity of global importance by removing barriers to the effective management of protected areas, particularly through meaningful involvement of civil society and the private sector.

The project is being implemented over a five-year period with funding from the World Bank, acting as an implementing agency of the GEF, Fonds Français pour l’Environnement Mondial (FFEM) of the Government of France and the Organisation of American States (OAS).

The six participating member states of OPAAL are Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts/Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent & the Grenadines.

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