Government announces Cotubanamá National Park is admitted to SPAW Protocol, elevating its international importance

The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources announced the entry of Cotubanamá National Park to the Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife in the Wider Caribbean Region (SPAW), part of the Cartagena Convention, which seeks the protection and development of the marine environment of the member countries.

With the entry of Cotubanamá Park into SPAW, the international conservation importance of this protected area located in the eastern part of the country, which includes Saona Island and other relevant points of high interest for its protection, such as its flora and fauna, is elevated.

This new milestone is also a recognition for the Dominican Republic for its efforts in the care of this park and the process for its inclusion in the protocol that was submitted about 18 months ago and promoted since the arrival of Minister Orlando Jorge Mera to the institution.

Cotubanamá brings to five the country’s protected areas in this protocol with a view to conserving its natural resources and promoting the ecologically sound use and sustainable management of its coastal-marine biodiversity. In addition to Cotubanamá National Park, the protocol also includes Jaragua National Park, Sierra de Bahoruco National Park, La Caleta Submarine National Park and Los Haitises National Park.

The announcement was made during the 11th Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW COP11) held last Tuesday with the participation of a technical team from the Ministry.

This meeting is part of the Nineteenth Intergovernmental Meeting on the Action Plan of the Caribbean Environment Programme and Sixteenth Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region and its Protocols, organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

About Cotubanamá National Park
Cotubanamá National Park is an area of special splendor and beauty that covers a territory of 791.9 square kilometers, including Saona Island with its 110 square kilometers of extension and maritime zone.

It covers the provinces of La Altagracia and La Romana. It was declared a protected area in 1975 through Decree No. 1311 and was later included in Law No. 64-00 on the Environment and Law No. 202-04 on Protected Areas in category II of the National Parks. According to inventories conducted in this area has detected the presence of 539 species of plants, 50 of which are endemic to Hispaniola.

There are 112 species of birds, 8 of which are endemic, including the gull (Larus argentatus), the pelican or gannet (Pelecanus occidentalis), the collared dove (Columba leucocephala), the parrot (Amazona ventralis), the bubi (Sula sula), the earwig (Fregata magnificens) and the owl (Tyto alba).

About the Cartagena Convention
The Dominican Republic has been a State Party to the Cartagena Convention since November 24, 1998. It is the only regional environmental treaty that protects key coastal ecosystems, and at the same time promotes regional cooperation and sustainable development, focusing on pollution caused by land-based sources and activities, dumping of waste at sea, seabed activities, air pollution and biodiversity protection.

This agreement is supported by three supplementary protocols in areas such as Oil Spills, Specially Protected Wildlife (SPAW) and Pollution from Land-based Sources and Activities (LBS). E

he SPAW protocol has allowed member countries to have exchanges of experience that improve their capacities, such as in the case of sargassum, where techniques and policies have been shared to provide a sustainable solution to the presence of sargassum on the coasts of Caribbean countries. Also the preservation of corals, the financing of projects for the conservation of species and marine areas, among other points that have favored the preservation of different species and places.

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