Preparations are growing more and more intense for the upcoming Caribbean Summit of Political and Business Leaders being held May 17th and 18th in the British Virgin Islands. Richard Branson is co-hosting the event, and thanks to the generous gift of the use of Necker Island by Virgin Limited Edition, the first day of this summit will be held on Necker.
This event will be historic. It will bring together, for the first time ever, heads of state from ten Caribbean countries, and will launch the most ambitious marine conservation effort ever undertaken. The aim is to conserve 20% of the marine resources of each country by 2020. At the meeting, CEOs and heads of state will convene to discuss, develop and announce new ideas and commitments for safeguarding the Caribbeans marine and coastal resources.
Why does this matter? Beach erosion affects 75% of all Caribbean beaches. Live coral covers just 8% of Caribbean reefs today, compared with more than 50% in the 1970s. And all commercial fisheries in the Caribbean are now overexploited. The Caribbean economy is inextricably linked to healthy marine and coastal ecosystems. The Caribbeans coral reefs alone provide goods and services for tourism, fisheries, and shoreline protection which have a combined value of hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Yet all marine and coastal natural capital in the Caribbean is threatened by unsustainable coastal development, land- and sea-based pollution, unsustainable fishing, and ongoing climate change.
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