Cuba is home to some of the world’s healthiest coral reefs which are a model for protection of these critical ecosystems.
In December 2016, Ocean Elders sent a delegation which included H. M. Queen Noor, Dr. Sylvia Earle, Jackson Browne, Captain Don Walsh, and Graeme Kelleher to Cuba to meet with leaders from academia, civil society, and government to learn more about the active measures that have protected the marine ecosystems around the island.
Over the course of the week, the Ocean Elders delegation met with the National Center for Protected Areas, the Ministry of Science, Technology, and the Environment, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Aquarium, and the University of Havana’s Center for Marine Research as well as Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis, Chargé d’affaires and Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy. As a result of these meetings, we were able to better understand their key priorities and areas where Ocean Elders could help support their efforts and priorities in the years to come, particularly in marine protected areas, coral reefs, shark and ray protection, and sustainable tourism.
In July 2017, Dr. Rita Colwell led the second Ocean Elders delegation to Cuba to build upon the successful trip taken the previous December and continue discussions on potential partnerships and programs that could support the continued protection of Cuba’s pristine marine ecosystems. This visit was organized around Dr. Colwell’s well-received presentation at the 10th Congress on the Environment and Development on the link between climate change, the ocean, and human health. During the trip, the delegation met with the Ministry of Science and Technology, Institute for Science of the Sea (ICiMAR), Center for National Protected Areas, Academy of Sciences of Cuba, University of Havana’s Center for Marine Research, and the Antonio Núñez Jímenez Foundation for Man and Nature.