Establishing the Biodiversity Partnership Mesoamerica

Project description

Title: Establishing the Biodiversity Partnership Mesoamerica
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Central America and Dominican Republic
Lead executing agency: Secretary General of the Central American Integration System (SG-SICA)
Overall term: 2014 to 2018

Biodiversity in Central America. Arenal Volcano. © GIZ / E. Müller

Context

Although Central America makes up only 0.5 per cent of the Earth's surface, it accounts for more than 7 per cent of the world’s biodiversity. This unique biodiversity is under severe threat from ongoing change to natural ecosystems, deforestation, overexploitation and climate change. Natural disasters are causing damage to the rural production infrastructure at ever shorter intervals.

The Central American states have reacted to the challenges of climate change and the threat to biodiversity, and have established important institutional structures at national and regional levels. However, the desired change cannot be achieved through public programmes alone: it is imperative that the private sector becomes more actively involved. The willingness of companies to adopt sustainable production methods is increasing steadily, not least because the integration of aspects of biodiversity lowers costs and helps to increase product acceptance on the American and European markets. However, the decisive factors here are expert knowledge, the ability to identify potential private and public partners and a high degree of coordination between individual projects.

Objective

The private sector engages more actively in the sustainable use of biodiversity within the Biodiversity Partnership Mesoamerica.

Biodiversity in Central America. Crocodile in Costa Rica, Hummingbird in Sarapiquí. © GIZ / E. Müller

Approach

The regional platform Biodiversity Partnership Mesoamerica (BPM) was established in April 2012 in the context of a development partnership between REWE, Chiquita and Corbana as well as the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The aim of the platform is to involve the private sector more systematically in biodiversity conservation efforts and to promote networking between the various actors. The platform members are international corporations, regional companies, civil society organisations, financing funds as well as research and government institutions.

The regional programme supports the platform in the following areas:

  1. promoting organisational development: BPM is creating a range of services that are used by the private sector to develop and coordinate projects for the sustainable use of biodiversity;
  2. identifying and developing financing mechanisms: BPM members receive access to financing mechanisms;
  3. developing quality criteria: BPM is developing quality criteria that are in line with international standards;
  4. monitoring and knowledge management: BPM is developing a knowledge management system for its members, and is establishing itself in Central America as a reference centre for exchanging ideas and lessons learned in the sustainable use of biodiversity.

Results

  • BPM is recognised by SICA's environmental authority CCAD (Comisión Centroamericana de Ambiente y Desarrollo) as a reference framework for private sector commitment in environmental issues. In this context, BPM has supported CCAD's consultations with the private sector on the regional environmental strategy 2015–2020 for the region Central America and Dominican Republic.
  • BPM has succeeded in attracting additional members: C-Fela, a forestry company headquartered in Costa Rica, CONABIO (Comisión Nacional para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad) in Mexico, DIGECOOM, the Dominican Republic's authority for multilateral projects, as well as the international fruit wholesaler UNIVEG.
  • BPM members in Costa Rica have access to an inventory of funding opportunities. Mechanisms for linking crowdfunding to the BPM members' projects are in place.
  • BPM is the result of a strategic alliance between the companies REWE, Chiquita and Corbana in the border region between Panama and Costa Rica. Within the scope of this project, the project partners and many volunteers have planted more than 10,000 trees on over 1,000 hectares of land. More than 4,000 people have received training in environmental subjects. In addition, turtle nests have been protected against natural predators and poachers, with the result that almost 30,000 endangered sea turtles reached the ocean after hatching.
  • BPM members have started projects that support reforestation, the establishment of wildlife corridors and power generation from biomass.
  • BPM was elected into the Executive Committee of the Global Partnership for Business and Biodiversity (from the end of 2015), which is a global initiative working under the umbrella of the Convention on Biological Diversity. This international environmental convention has 193 signatory parties and has been ratified by 168 countries. It is therefore an important platform for knowledge sharing and communicating the activities of BPM members.