SusGren is a trans-boundary Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) committed to the conservation of the coastal and marine environment and sustainable livelihoods for the people in the Grenadine Islands between Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. This is being approached through capacity building and increased awareness of the environment for non-governmental organizations and community groups and in part, by assisting the governments of both countries to achieve their goals associated with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), St. George's Declaration and the Caribbean Challenge initiative. SusGren is based on the idea that in the Grenadines, civil society partners are the least able to participate in bringing about change that is equitable and lasting. They are also least able to access the benefits of development. SusGren therefore focuses on strengthening civil society so that it can better play its role.
The core activities of SusGren include: training workshops, small project support, attachments and exchanges, networking and awareness, linking activities of the two governments and external donors in the Grenadines by facilitating project development and implementation with the engagement of local groups.
Sustainable Grenadines Inc. (SusGren) evolved from the “Sustainable Integrated Development and Biodiversity Conservation in the Grenadine Islands” project (Sustainable Grenadines Project), an eight-year initiative (2002 - 2010) funded by the Lighthouse Foundation of Germany and co-implemented by: the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES) of the University of the West Indies; Carriacou Environmental Committee, Grenada; Projects Promotion Ltd., St. Vincent and the Grenadines; Caribbean Conservation Association; the governments of Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines; and numerous Grenadines NGOs.
The Sustainable Grenadines project began with a two-year planning phase during which over 150 stakeholders from diverse sectors, fields and levels of influence developed a shared vision and strategic plan for the sustainable development of the Grenadines. Phase II of the project involved implementing this plan, with a focus on strengthening the capacity of NGOs and community groups in the Grenadines. This contributes to coastal and marine management and conservation by delivering training in organizational strengthening, providing small grants to implement practical projects and facilitating attachments and peer exchanges.
The project achieved a number of successes and laid the groundwork for further results through research and participatory planning of natural resource management. Highlights include:
- Establishing a producer’s cooperative (Ashton Multi-Purpose Cooperative) that is still operational, making sea moss products and providing sustainable livelihood opportunities for people on Union Island
- Contributing to the establishment of the Sandy Island/Oyster Bed Marine Protected Area in Carriacou, Grenada, and the re-launch of the Tobago Cays Marine Park in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Supporting 13 civil society organizations and a government agency to complete 16 mini-projects that enhanced local communities and the environment
- Training 24 school teachers to deliver lessons on coral reef conservation
- Building the capacity of community-based organizations, some of which have gone on to achieve noteworthy results, such as Union Island Environment Attackers installing 1,000-gallon water tanks in over 200 homes as a climate change adaptation measure
- Conducting a stakeholder assessment and mapping marine habitats and human use of natural resources across the Grenadines (http://www.grenadinesmarsis.com/)
In 2010, the Sustainable Grenadines Project was transformed into a transboundary civil society organization – Sustainable Grenadines Inc., or “SusGren” – based in Union Island, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), and legally registered as a non-profit in both SVG (registered April 6, 2010) and Grenada (registered March 25, 2011).