Triangular cooperation between Costa Rica, Morocco and Germany: improving the sustainable management and use of forests, protected areas and watersheds

Project description

Title: Regional Fund for the Promotion of Triangular Cooperation in Latin America and the Caribbean – Individual measure: Improving the sustainable management and use of forests, protected areas and watersheds in the context of climate change
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Cooperation countries: Costa Rica, Morocco
Overall term: 2013 to 2016


Since the mid-1990s, the Government of Costa Rica, working together with non-governmental organisations, civil society and private-sector actors, has designed and implemented many successful programmes facilitating the country’s adaptation to climate change. However, it is still searching for solutions that will enable it to improve its watershed management practices and also prevent and fight forest fires. Morocco meanwhile has long-standing expertise in this field and, for its part, is interested in harnessing Costa Rica’s world-famous experience in exploiting the socio-economic potential of its national parks and protected areas as well as its experience in handling payments for forest environmental services.


In Costa Rica and Morocco, a number of different activities addressing the issue of climate change have helped to enhance the sustainable management and use of forests, protected areas and watersheds. To secure long-term funding for protection activities, new sources of income, such as ecotourism, have been developed. Experience is shared with other MENA countries.


Until the end of 2015, the focus will be on the following activities:

  • Based on Morocco’s experience, two pilot projects will be realised in watershed areas in Costa Rica. Furthermore, national initiatives for preventing forest fires will be adapted and consolidated.
  • In Morocco, Costa Rica’s experience will serve as the basis for two pilot projects that will help protect biodiversity in the national parks of Souss Massa and Toubkal. At the same time, ecotourism and the development of value chains will sustainably improve the local population’s socioeconomic situation.
  • Costa Rica’s experience with payments for forest environmental services will enhance the development of Morocco’s Forest Partnership Initiative and the system used to finance it.
  • Germany will contribute the expertise it has gained through bilateral development cooperation, specifically with regard to methodology and organisation.

These activities will involve representatives of the countries’ governments, authorities, private sectors and non-governmental organisations. Their task will be to identify best practices and sustainably harness and mainstream any lessons learned. A cross-border exchange of experience is also planned with other MENA countries.

The project has analysed the sector policies, institutional frameworks and working methods of relevant partners from both countries and identified initial focal points for cooperation:

Watersheds. Actors at the national and regional levels in Costa Rica now know where planning needs to be improved. Tailored advisory services will be provided in the selected pilot regions Jesús María and Barranca.

Financing mechanisms in the forest sector. Morocco is learning about the Costa Rican National Forestry Finance Fund (FONAFIFO) and how it interacts with the private sector. Experts from FONAFIFO’s environmental, marketing and monitoring units, along with representatives of the non-governmental organisations CODEFORSA and FUNDECOR, are advising the national partners on the design of Morocco’s Forest Partnership Initiative.

Forest fire prevention in Costa Rica. Costa Rica has identified a need for support in developing planning methods and early warning systems and strengthening related inter-institutional coordination. Moroccan experts have agreed to provide specialist consultancy and further training.

Harnessing the potential of protected areas. An expert exchange with the tourism sector is being prepared.
This triangular cooperation project has received wide-scale political support from the governments of all the countries involved. The institutions and partners have a high level of ownership and are committed to taking the project forward. Other Mediterranean countries that are members of the Collaborative Partnership on Mediterranean Forests (CPMF) are following these developments with interest. The IV Mediterranean Forest Week, which will take place in Spain in March 2015, will feature a presentation on this particular triangular cooperation project.