Securing the future – strengthening biological corridors

Project description

Project title: Biological Corridors Project: Implementation of the National Programme of Biological Corridors within the framework of the National Biodiversity Strategy
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) as part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI)
Country: Costa Rica
Lead executing agency: Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía (MINAE)
Overall term: 2014 to 2020

Context

Costa Rica aims to be one of the world’s first countries to achieve the Convention on Biological Di-versity Aichi 2020 targets. The country has had a National Biodiversity Strategy since 2015 and a plan of action for adapting biodiversity to climate change since 2017, incorporating tried-and-tested ap-proaches and lessons learned from successful projects.

To conserve biodiversity and the associated ecosystem services in Costa Rica, 44 areas (totalling 1.7 million hectares and covering approximately 34 per cent of the country) have been classified as biological corridors under the National Biocorridor Programme (PNCB). It is therefore necessary to establish network structures between state conservation areas (25 per cent of the national territory), important ecosystems and natural habitats throughout the country. The biological corridors are not state conservation areas, but rather geographically delimited natural areas that are to be managed collectively by civil society, public institutions and the private sector on the basis of a participatory management plan.

This project is intended to support the partners and civil society at local level in drawing up manage-ment plans, and in setting up and consolidating governance and dialogue platforms (local biological corridor committees). Additional (external) funds need to be obtained for the implementation of the management plans, as funds from the government budget are currently only made available for the state conservation area system. There is a lack of strategies, guidelines, incentive systems and alter-native income-generating opportunities for actively involving local governments and the private sector in the National Biocorridor Programme. At national level, the underlying political, legal and administra-tive conditions need to be adjusted to allow the National Biocorridor Programme to be implemented in a targeted manner.

Objective

Capacities for conserving biodiversity and securing ecosystem services in Costa Rica’s biological corridors have improved. 

Approach

The project supports the environment ministry (Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía, MINAE), the national conservation area authority (Sistema Nacional de Areas de Conservacion, SINAC), Fundación Banco Ambiental (FUNBAM), the national regulatory authority ARESEP, local governments and local people in devising and implementing strategic plans for establishing and managing systems of interlinked biotopes. In this context, it is also establishing structures to improve the participation of local gov-ernments, authorities and the private sector. 

The project works in close coordination and cooperation with other national, regional and global pro-jects of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, the German Federal Environment Ministry (BMU), the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Develop-ment (BMZ) and the Global Environment Facility of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP-GEF). Together with the national non-governmental organisations Fundación CRUSA, Funde Cooperación and Centro Científico Tropical (CCT), it is taking measures to implement green production projects. The German consulting company GITEC supports the project as a subcontractor in establish-ing and consolidating green value chains in the biological corridor areas. 

The project’s multi-level approach essentially consists of four areas of activity:

Area of activity 1: Adaptation and development of the legal and administrative framework for biologi-cal corridor management at national level (strategic plan for 2025, reform of biological corridor decree, reform of water rate decree, development of a monitoring system for the National Biocorridor Pro-gramme)

Area of activity 2: Participatory land-use planning at local level in the areas comprising the biological corridors, and capacity development for the implementation of management plans at national, sub-national and local levels (15 biological corridor committees have been strengthened, 15 participatory management plans are being implemented).

Area of activity 3: Establishing incentive systems and financing mechanisms at national and local lev-els, thereby ensuring the medium-term availability of funds to promote green production chains and value chains in the biological corridor areas (national level: FUNBAM Green Business Fund for small farmers and microenterprises; PROCOMER export platform for medium-sized and large enterprises; ARESEP water rate for water producer communities for the conservation of water catchment areas and water conservation areas; local level: Global Conservation Standard GCS for twelve biological corri-dors in the Guanacaste–Tempisque region).

Area of activity 4: Active communications management and knowledge transfer. Lessons learned and best practices are disseminated in other corridor areas and made available for use worldwide by means of triangular cooperation and international events. This is achieved in the context of a commu-nications strategy and by means of improved knowledge management.

Results

  • A year before its end the project has already achieved its indicators at outcome level and is showing significant results. A year and a half before the end of the project, the management effectiveness of the 15 biological corridors in which the project provides advice directly had increased from 38 per cent (2015) to 52.8 per cent (2018; target for 2020: 50 per cent). The management effectiveness of the remaining biological corridors in the overall system, in which the project does not intervene directly, currently amounts to 31.4 per cent (2018).
  • The National Biocorridor Programme now has a clear strategy and instruments and guidelines for managing the corridors (toolbox).
  • The national strategic plan for biological corridors in 2025 is in place.
  • Management plans for 15 corridors have been developed in cooperation with local people, and are being implemented. 
  • A countrywide monitoring system for recording management effectiveness (benchmark with criteria relating to ecology, governance and the socio-economic situation) has been developed and is being applied.
  • Taking account of ‘resilient climate zones’, the national programme has extended the effective-ly networked biological corridor area by 118,574 hectares to 682,171 hectares. 
  • Three financing mechanisms have been established (ARESEP water rate; FUNBAM Negocios Verdes; Plataforma Exportación Verde PROCOMER - CRUSA). A total of 4.5 million US dol-lars have been provided for green projects, of which 100,000 US dollars are made available each year for areas in the biological corridors.
  • In 15 biological corridors, 19 ‘green’ objectives compatible with the conservation objectives of the respective corridors are currently supported via FUNBAM. 
  • Since the beginning of the project, 1,303 people have received training in relevant areas for biological corridor management (experts, SINAC-MINAE employees, representatives of bio-logical corridor committees and stakeholders)
  • Topical areas: strategic planning, project planning, landscape planning, identifying and valoris-ing ecosystem services, vulnerability analyses, analysing value chains, adaptation to climate change, managing dialogue platforms, negotiating skills, setting up and using financing in-struments 
  • The biocorredores.org information platform provides access to all plans, strategies, studies, data and maps. An average of 1,300 visitors access the website every year.