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IUCN Caribbean is the Union’s most recent Initiative. It focuses on the Insular Caribbean - an ecologically coherent unit with unique biodiversity where conservation and natural resource management issues are at the heart of the challenge of sustainable development.

This new initiative was spearheaded at the 2004 IUCN World Conservation Congress (Resolution 3.033) at the request of Caribbean IUCN members, and it has since been developed with the support of the Governments of France and Italy. The Initiative was formerly launched, four years later, at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Barcelona in October 2008.

The current 2009 – 2012 Programme of Work is based on a comprehensive Situation Analysis, which was carried out and published in 2007. The analysis included an assessment of the issues, needs and opportunities for ecological conservation in the region and the formulation of the programme involved consultation with all members and key partners of IUCN in the Caribbean region

The IUCN Caribbean Initiative works through its regional network of members and partners to provide a platform for collaboration among governments, non-governmental organisations, scientific institutions and individuals. The Initiative’s first task in 2009 was to develop a robust communication strategy to increase information sharing between stakeholders and build support for the Initiative. Implementation will be supported by a sub-regional Committee of Members in the Insular Caribbean that will help guide, monitor and evaluate the Initiative’s implementation.

For an initial period of two years, while the Initiative becomes fully established, IUCN Caribbean has been placed under the responsibility of the IUCN Regional Office for Mesoamerica, based in Costa Rica, to allow for administrative and management support as well as the development of links within the wider Caribbean region.