On the occasion of the Convention of Biological Diversity COP10 taking place in Nagoya, Japan the GEF Small Grants Programme launched a catalogue of biodiversity-based products from SGP’s Latin American & Caribbean portfolio which demonstrates the linkage between the sustainable use of biodiversity, community empowerment and poverty reduction.
The catalogue was launched at the official side event “The GEF Small Grants Programme support to biodiversity-based products and supply chains” on October 19th and was introduced by Yoko Watanabe, Senior Biodiversity Specialist of the GEF, who talked about the GEF biodiversity portfolio and its links with local communities.
Jose Manuel Perez, National Coordinator of the GEF Small Grants Programme in Panama explained the origins of the catalog and the process of producing and consolidating the catalog. Mr. Perez explained the need to document these products and help the producer organizations to reach wider markets; and connect them with buyers and other communities to exchange information and lessons learned.
The event also presented a video from SGP Cuba that presented a sponge farm project that has successfully cultivated sea sponges as an employment alternative to trawler fishing in the coastal area of Carahatas. The sponges are part of the catalogue and the video highlights the importance of sharing this success with other communities that can benefit from it.
Nimal Hewanila, SGP grantee from the Community Development Centre in Sri Lanka talked about its project about the production of yams and explained the important role of providing technical support to the communities in successfully producing and marketing their biodiversity products.
To conclude Terence Hay-Edie, SGP Biodiversity Specialist explained the plan to take the catalogue beyond the print version to an online platform in partnership with the Progreso Network, in an effort to connect producers with markets and provide a space for showcasing their products.
The catalogue, which incorporates high quality studio photography, is the first of its kind and offers exciting possibilities for supporting marginalised communities in forming alliances with funders, retailers, researchers, governments and NGOs in order to improve their livelihoods and conserve biodiversity.