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Earth Today | Cartagena Convention Secretariat produces new knowledge products on sargassum seaweed

Published:Thursday | November 25, 2021 | 12:07 AM

IN AN effort to supplement the regional knowledge base of documents related to sargassum, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Cartagena Convention Secretariat recently produced a variety of information materials on sargassum influxes in the wider Caribbean.

The products are seen as timely given that since 2011, Caribbean coastlines have been subjected to unprecedented, massive, episodic influxes of the floating seaweed.

“The issue, however, is not confined to the Caribbean, but extends across the Tropical Atlantic, including equatorial Brazil as well as coastal West Africa from Sierra Leone through the Gulf of Guinea,” notes the latest issue of the e-bulletin from the project, Integrating Water, Land and Ecosystems Management in the Caribbean Small Island States.

“Sargassum influxes are a multiregional transboundary issue, demanding coordination and collaboration within and across impacted regions,” it added.

The knowledge products include:

• A UNEP Foresight Brief, which focuses on the floating sargassum seaweed and aims to support the sargassum paradigm shift from a ‘brown tide’ hazard to a ‘golden jewel’ opportunity; and

• An updated Sargassum White Paper, Turning the Crisis Into An Opportunity, which is a living document intended to be regularly updated. It provides a strategic status update and critical situational analysis that informs and elicits feedback from key regional stakeholders. It formed the basis for the development of a draft Concept Note for the SargCollab programme to be led by the UNEP Cartagena Convention.

There is also a summary brief of the White Paper for Policymakers, which offers guidelines for incorporating forecasting into policy and planning, as well as the potential, limitations, and risks of sargassum blue growth. It also outlines the enabling environment for promoting sustainable sargassum blue growth.

This is together with a summary brief of the White Paper for Civil Society Organisations, which looks at the role that civil society can play in addressing the sargassum issue and exploring opportunities.

“It also highlights important civil society organisations in the region, collaborating on various projects, notable ongoing initiatives, and presents priority actions for CSOs aimed at supporting adaptation and resilience to this phenomenon,” the e-bulletin explains.

Also in the mix is a summary brief of the White Paper for Women and Youth, which provides key messages that highlight the vulnerability of women and youth to sargassum influx events, their role in helping to address this problem, women and youth champions leading sargassum-related initiatives and advancing innovations, and policy actions to promote the engagement of women and youth in the decision-making process.