October 22-24, 2002. Reviewed data and information assembled to date, evaluated the preliminary threat assessment approach and estimates of threats to coral reefs, and identified better data sources for input to modeling and for calibration of results.
The Reefs at Risk Caribbean project has two primary goals. This first is to improve the base of information available for examining threats to coral reefs from human activities across the Wider Caribbean. The second goal is to raise awareness about these threats and arm resource managers, policymakers, and coral reef advocates, in general, with high quality information and tools for making a strong argument for better protection and management of coral reefs.
The Reefs at Risk Caribbean project is lead by the World Resources Institute and is implemented in collaboration with many partner institutions, including UNEP Caribbean Environment Program. The project is a component of the International Coral Reef Action Network (ICRAN), and receives support from the United Nations Foundation and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
A project workshop was held in Miami Florida during October 22-24, which was attended by thirty-five participants. The workshop provided an opportunity to review the data and information assembled to date on coral reefs and threats to coral reefs across the region, evaluate the preliminary threat assessment approach and estimates of threats to coral reefs and identify better data sources for input to modeling and for calibration of results. The workshop also provided an opportunity to review maps of coral reef locations and data on the occurrence of coral disease and coral bleaching across the region and to discuss how to approach the analysis of these major threats. In addition, the workshop highlighted socioeconomic aspects of coral reefs, with sessions on evaluation of economic value of coral reefs and on the effectiveness of management of marine protected areas.
Enthusiastic participation by workshop attendees made the workshop a big success, with all workshop objectives achieved. The workshop had an intense three-day schedule, with a balance of presentation, discussion and review of preliminary results. Participants branded the project very broad and ambitious, acknowledged that there is a great need for this sort of comprehensive activity, and have widely endorsed what is regarded as a pragmatic approach.
Reefs at Risk uses an approach to estimating threat to coral reefs which relies upon the best available information for the region. As there are always limitations in the information that will be available, an innovative approach has developed which uses proxy indicators to estimate threat. Some scientists commented that they did not like the nature of the model, but did think that the preliminary results were pretty good. The bottom line is that we strive to produce the best estimates of threat to coral reefs possible using available, regionally consistent information. Workshop participants have helped us to further this approach.
During the workshop, participants made many constructive recommendations for improving the model, directed us to additional data sources, and provided detailed comments on the preliminary results.
This document serves as a brief summary of the workshop recommendations, proposed actions for improving the model, and next steps for the project. Although there was frequent and extensive discussion on a range of options for modifying the model, this summary is intended to highlight discussion conclusions and the modifications which can be implemented in light of data believed to be available at this time.
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