The Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation for the Conservation and Management of Protected Marine Areas is the first document regarding environmental issues, to be signed between Cuba and the U.S. since the reestablishment of diplomatic relations, noted Dr. Fernando Mario González Ber múdez, first deputy minister of Science, Technology and Environment (CITMA).
The memorandum, signed November 18, in Havana by representatives of both nations, aims to establish a cooperative relationship to facilitate joint efforts related to science, and the administration and management of protected marine areas, which will be supervised by the two nations.
The document identifies keys fields of action in Cuba (the Gua naha cabibes National Park, and Banco de San An tonio) and the U.S. (Flower Garden Banks, the Florida Keys and the Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks).
Signing on behalf of Cuba was Dr. Fernando Mario González Ber múdez, and for the U.S., Dr. Kathryn D. Sullivan, under secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Pedro Ramos, superintendent of Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks.
González Bermúdez noted that discussions regarding protected marine areas began nine months ago, and were followed by further exchanges which led to the signing of the memorandum.
For her part, the U.S. representative noted the importance of this type of exchange between the two countries, in order to share knowledge and experience, especially given that Cuba’s abundant ecosystems and the protected mangrove forests of the Florida Keys are connected by sea currents.