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Overview of the SARG'COOP program

The SARG'COOP project is designed to enhance the preparedness and resilience of Caribbean territories to natural disasters, in this case the Sargassum seaweed invasion. The project's objective is to enhance Caribbean cooperation by creating forums and tools to facilitate knowledge and know-how sharing in the management of Sargassum seaweed strandings. It also proposes the development of an observation, monitoring and warning network as well as a multidisciplinary network of professionals by creating a Caribbean Warning and Monitoring Centre in charge of remote sensing and air quality measurement.

The Caribbean Sargasso programme (2019-2022) is built around 4 work packages (or sub-programmes) whose objectives are to address these issues:

Work package n° 1

International Sargassum Conference

The Caribbean Sargassum programme was instigated following an international conference on sargassum held in Guadeloupe from 23 to 26 October 2019. The event, at which the main stakeholders ( institutional, private, civil society, academia and research) met and exchanged views on various issues related to sargassum, marked the start of the global project.

This event provided an opportunity to take stock of national and inter-regional initiatives on sargassum, current scientific research, as well as innovative processes for collection, containment, recovery and exploitation.

The approval of the final statement by the States and Regional Integration Organisations present contributed to the development of a coordinated and coherent regional strategy.

Work package n° 2

The establishment of a Caribbean centre for the prevention and monitoring of Sargassum algae.

Two main objectives will be presented here:

The development of a monitoring and remote sensing tool on the scale of the Caribbean basin designed to provide the territories with information on future strandings. Using raw data, real-time information and observational bulletins on the evolution of the Sargasso slicks are produced, providing tools for decision-making, exchange, training and awareness-raising among Caribbean stakeholders. Such forecasts will enable public authorities to prepare for the arrival of slicks and their stranding and to better prepare for their removal (deployment of teams, evacuation of populations, etc.).

Monitoring of air quality :
This sub-programme provides technical and financial support to encourage the governments and local authorities of partner countries to install sensors to measure concentrations of harmful emissions from the degradation of stranded algae on the most vulnerable coasts.

Work package n° 3

The launch of a Caribbean Sargassum Cluster.

The objective is to set up a centre, a genuine cluster dedicated to the subject of sargassum, with the aim of collecting and centralising all scientific and technical contributions on sargassum algae and making them available to the general public. The forum’s role is based on the following priorities :

  • Improving knowledge and experience sharing
  • Guiding public decision making
  • Improving skills

All the data will be centralised on the Caribbean Sargassum Observatory’s shared platform; an operational and collaborative platform for exchange between all the stakeholders involved in the Sargassum issue.

Work package n° 4

Implementation of internationalisation actions for the Caribbean Sargassum program.

This sub-program is designed to consolidate the internationalisation of the Caribbean Sargassum program through four main themes of :

  • Enhancing the coordination of regional strategies for combating sargassum
  • Promoting the programme’s networking initiatives among international bodies
  • Contributing to discussions on the feasibility of developing, in the long term, a protocol to the Cartagena Convention to address global changes
  • Addressing the various objectives set out in the final statement of the international conference on Sargassum in October 2019