22 May 2023 – The Caribbean Biodiversity Fund announced the launch of its Biodiversity Excellence Awards for Conservation Heroes (BEACH) Awards on International Biodiversity Day, May 22, 2023.
The BEACH Awards honors those who have demonstrated exceptional leadership, innovation, and collaboration in their efforts to safeguard the Caribbean’s biodiversity. We are seeking nominations for individuals and organizations who have made a measurable impact on biodiversity conservation, showcased creative approaches, fostered partnerships, and demonstrated long-term commitment to sustainability. The deadline for submitting nominations is 22 June 2023.
“Last year, we recognized our outgoing Chair and Vice Chair Dr. Jens Mackensen and Eleanor Garraway-Phillips for their contributions to biodiversity conservation and sustainable development in the Caribbean. Now, we are excited to launch the BEACH Awards named after them that continues the tradition of celebrating individuals and organizations that make a regional impact within biodiversity conservation,” said CEO of the CBF Karen McDonald Gayle.
The Individual Award
The Individual award, Garraway-Phillips BEACH is named after Eleanor Garraway-Phillips, the “Caribbean Ambassador” that shaped conservation policy and strategic direction in the Bahamas. She played a key role in the Bahamas Master Plan for Protected Areas and the Bahamas Protected Areas Fund. Garraway-Phillips served as CBF’s first Vice Chair and Treasurer, leaving a lasting impact on the region’s conservation efforts including the advancement of the Caribbean Challenge Initiative.
The Organization Award
Organizations will be bestowed with the Mackensen BEACH named after outgoing chairperson of the Board of Caribbean Biodiversity Fund Dr. Jens Mackensen. He currently serves as Director of the Latin America and the Caribbean portfolio for the Department of Natural Resources at KfW Development Bank in Frankfurt, Germany. At the KfW, Dr. Mackensen oversees forest protection, reforestation, sustainable forestry in natural forests, and agriculture, as well as the protection of climate, coasts, and biodiversity.
The awardees will be announced at a special ceremony during the CBF Caribbean Conservation Finance Congress on World Nature Conservation Day on July 28, 2023. The awards include a citation, plaque, promotion of their conservation work in the media and online as well as financial support for a project of their choice.
Why is Biodiversity Important to the Caribbean?
As we commemorate International Biodiversity Day, it is time to reflect on why conserving the Caribbean’s biodiversity is so important. But first, what is it? Biodiversity is the variety of all life forms around us— the plants, animals, insects and microorganisms and the terrestrial, marine and freshwater ecosystems that they are a part of. Biodiversity is essential for the processes that support all life on Earth, including humans. Without a wide range of animals, plants and microorganisms, we cannot have the healthy ecosystems that we rely on to provide us with the air we breathe and the food we eat.
As ocean-based islands, the Caribbean is a hub for endemic species, full of biodiversity hotspots and corals. Marine life has been heavily impacted by climate change with the rise in sea levels, ocean warming and a proliferation of storm events being just some of the environmental challenges in the region. Other challenges that affect our biodiversity include invasive species, improper waste management (including marine litter), increased droughts and of course human behaviors such as deforestation. Protecting our biodiversity has never been more important than it is now. The conservation measures implemented today will impact future generations within the Caribbean and the world.
The Caribbean Biodiversity Fund invites everyone passionate about biodiversity conservation and sustainable development to join us in celebrating International Biodiversity Day by nominating deserving individuals and organizations for the BEACH Awards. Together, let’s foster a brighter future for our planet and closer to home, our Caribbean’s invaluable natural resources.