Sustainable management of natural resources and strengthening of entrepreneurial competencies

Programme description

Title: Sustainable management of natural resources and strengthening of entrepreneurial competencies (MASRENACE)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Nicaragua
Lead executing agency: Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores (MINREX)
Overall term: 2005 to 2013

Nicaragua. Reforestation in the Gil Gonzales water catchment area, in the Belén community © GIZ


Nicaragua’s rural population depends on natural resources such as water, soil, forests and biodiversity as the basis for day-to-day life and economic activity. The ongoing extension of the agricultural frontier due to agriculture and livestock farming, illegal logging and forest fires is causing the large-scale transformation and destruction of the forest. Each year, some 70,000 hectares of forest are lost. In 2007, a further 500,000 hectares were destroyed by natural disasters such as Hurricane Felix. The most densely forested areas are found in the north-east. This is also where the poorest inhabitants live, including most of the country’s indigenous communities.

The reasons for the rising poverty and the loss of biodiversity and forest cover in rural areas can be seen in the unregulated and insecure access of the local population to the land, forest and water resources. The productivity of agriculture and forestry is often low, and this is compounded by underdeveloped manufacturing processes and insufficient market access. The centralised administration and its local structures are often inefficient, and local governments are overwhelmed by the role they have to perform. The rural population uses traditional, short-term cultivation methods which ultimately lead to the destruction of natural resources and biodiversity. This is limiting or even hindering the potential for future development in the region.


The rural population, local administrations and state institutions in selected communities and indigenous territories of Nicaragua use natural resources sustainably.


The programme consists of the following components:

  • Improving the political and institutional framework of the forestry and environment sector
  • Supporting the involvement of institutions and stakeholders from the departments, local authorities and indigenous communities in the process of spatial and development planning
  • Promoting the competitiveness of local stakeholders as they use natural resources sustainably

Results achieved so far

The underlying conditions for sustainable forestry have been improved. Developed through a participatory process, the forestry policy (Gobernanza Forestal) is today seen as a national priority. The coordinated National Forests Programme and the Financing Mechanism for Sustainable Forestry (FONADEFO) have been established. Nicaragua is a pilot country for the REDD process (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation).

Spatial planning as a fixed element in the strategic planning of local authorities and indigenous territories has been incorporated into the national law for regional planning. Initial successes have been recorded from pilot trials in sustainable spatial and development planning, and in the anchoring of environmentally-friendly resource management practices.

Nicaragua.  © GIZ

Commercial production processes and value chains have been successfully developed and introduced. There are now 300 hectares of cocoa under sustainable cultivation. Some 4,700 hectares of forest have been certified by FSC, and another 24,000 are in the process of certification. An eco-tourism project (Fincas Verdes) has started on the island of Ometepe.