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Press Release

Consortium of Civil Society Launched in Support of the SPAW Programme of the Cartagena Convention

Oranjestad, Aruba (October 10, 2023)—The SPAW Consortium, a network of civil society organizations and experts allied in their support of biodiversity protection in the Wider Caribbean Region, was officially launched on October 4, 2023, at the 17th Meeting of Parties of the Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region (WCR) or Cartagena Convention.

The Cartagena Convention is a regional legal agreement for the protection of the Caribbean Sea adopted in Cartagena, Colombia on 24 March 1983 and entered into force on 11 October 1986. The Convention is supported by three technical agreements or Protocols on Oil Spills, Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW), and Land-Based Sources of Marine Pollution (LBS).

The independent alliance, formally established on 5 September 2023, was presented during a lunch side-event during the 6th Conference of Parties to the Protocol concerning Pollution from Land-based Sources and Activities (LBS COP6).

In his opening remarks, the Coordinator of the Cartagena Convention Secretariat, Mr. Christopher Corbin, highlighted that the SPAW Consortium “is in line with strengthening the long-standing cooperative spirit that has guided the contributions of non-governmental organizations to the work of the Cartagena Convention and in particular the SPAW Protocol.” He also drew the attention of attendees to the fact that the event was an excellent way of demonstrating a greater integration being sought between the SPAW and LBS Protocols.

Susan Millward, Executive Director of the Animal Welfare Institute, as one of the Consortium’s six founding members, introduced its goals as building partnerships to support the SPAW Protocol and programme, up-scaling best practices, sharing lessons learned, enhancing synergies among members, recruiting commitments from civil society, and supporting capacity building in the Region. “It is wonderful to have this opportunity to help civil society build synergy by working together to support the implementation of the Protocol and Convention,” said Millward.

The launch was attended by over 60 participants from the Wider Caribbean region, including SPAW and LBS Contracting Parties, Government delegates, representatives from the Convention’s four Regional Activity Centres, national and regional non-governmental organisations, and other experts.

For more information contact Monica Borobia ( or Susan Millward ( and visit

Monica Borobia – Monitor Caribbean
Susan Millward – Animal Welfare Institute
Karen Eckert – WIDECAST
Lloyd Gardner – Foundation for Development Planning Inc.
Courtney Vail – Lightkeepers Foundation
Olga Koubrak – Legal Advisor to Sealife Law