Marine and coastal biodiversity of Costa Rica – capacity building and adaptation to climate change (Closed)

Project description

Title: BIOMARCC Marine and coastal biodiversity of Costa Rica – capacity building and adaptation to climate change
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB)
Country: Costa Rica
Lead executing agency: Sistema Nacional de Áreas de Conservación (National System of Conservation Areas – SINAC) of the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE)
Overall term: 2010 to 2015


The impacts of climate change are expected to severely affect Costa Rica and other countries in Central America, exacerbating the negative effects of classic stress factors such as overfishing, habitat fragmentation, and sedimentation and pollution in bodies of water and coral reefs. This leads to ecosystem instability and threatens the provision of ecosystem services, including food, drinking water and climate regulation. Intact marine and coastal ecosystems are vital for adaptation to climate change. They safeguard the livelihoods of local communities and serve as a protective mechanism against storms, flooding and the salinisation of soil and groundwater.


The adaptive capacity of Costa Rica's marine and coastal ecosystems to climate change has increased.


The resilience of the system of marine protected areas to the impacts of climate change depends on

  • the representativeness and current condition (ecological integrity) of the various ecosystems in the system of conservation areas,
  • the degree of networking between individual ecosystems and conservation areas (interconnecting system),
  • the extent of climate and non-climate threats (vulnerability),
  • the effectiveness of management of the protected areas (administrative, institutional and financial adaptive capacity).

The effectiveness of management depends on the quality of the instruments and concepts used and on the necessary funding to implement plans and strategies.

The project is designed to promote the following factors: representativeness of the system of conservation areas; sound management plans and instruments adapted to climate change; financial security strategies; cross-sector exchange. This is supplemented by intensive capacity building for the conservation area authority SINAC and other players involved in managing the areas.


  • The system of marine protected areas has been extended to include a further 9,800 square kilometres, with the Area Marina de Manejo Montes Submarinos, a marine area around the Cocos Island National Park, being declared a conservation area by decree. Additional areas covering some 3,500 square kilometres are currently being established as marine protected areas in a participatory process.
  • Seventeen marine protected areas each have a new five-year management plan that for the first time includes climate aspects (adaptation to climate change).
  • More than 1,000 state employees working in conservation and non-governmental experts have received initial and continuing training in planning protected areas, conducting vulnerability analyses, biomonitoring, setting up and managing local dialogue platforms, and using instruments developed by the TEEB Initiative (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity).
  • The effectiveness of protected area management has been improved: a points-based monitoring system (scorecard benchmark system) has been introduced, marine biology monitoring has been systematically carried out, inventories have been drawn up, adaptation plans have been prepared and management plans implemented.
  • Two new funding mechanisms have been established to implement the management plans, with a current annual volume of 70,000 US dollars.
  • All the studies, data, maps and satellite images prepared or commissioned by the project are available on the information platform The platform has an average of 3,600 visitors each year. The information is used in sectoral and national strategy plans and policies, such as the National Development Plan 2017, the National Biodiversity Strategy 2016 and the National Adaptation Fund 2014.

Additional information