Costa Rica: Securing the future – strengthening biological corridors

Project description

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

Context

Costa Rica is aiming to be one of the world’s first countries to achieve the Convention on Biological Diversity 2020 targets. By mid-2015, the new National Biodiversity Strategy and the action plan for adapting the biodiversity sector to climate change are set to be drawn up, thus providing an integrated strategic plan for biodiversity. As part of this process, tried and tested approaches – such as vulnerability analyses and climate scenarios – are included, and the results of other projects, such as BIOMARCC, are taken into account.

In Costa Rica, 36 areas have been classified as priority biological corridors under the Strategic Plan of the National Biocorridor Programme (PNCB). In this area of 1.7 million hectares, covering almost one third of the country, a network of connecting structures is being established between state conservation areas, ecosystems and habitats.

The PNCB suffers from a lack of resources as it operates outside the conservation area system, which absorbs the bulk of the state budget allocation to SINAC, the national conservation area authority. Only a few corridors currently have a strategic plan – a protection and management strategy – that has been agreed with the relevant stakeholders. Only 23 corridors have a local committee operating at an intersectoral level as an institutionalised dialogue platform. Operative budgets are at present insufficient, and financial sustainability for management has not been secured in any of the corridors.

Moreover, in order to implement the PNCB, the environment ministry (MINAE), SINAC and the local stakeholders need institutionalised instruments and mechanisms for steering corridor management. There are no plans and procedures for involving local governments and the private sector in the management of the interconnecting systems. In addition, the actors require support in establishing incentive systems and alternative income-generating opportunities, for example, within the scope of local economic development. They also need assistance in establishing administrative structures to help them implement the corridor strategy effectively.

Objective

Skills, structures and performance capacity for conserving biodiversity and for securing ecosystem services in Costa Rica’s biological corridors have improved. This includes the sustainable use of biodiversity to improve the socio-economic situation of the population.

Approach

The project consists of four components:

  1. Development of administrative structures and enabling conditions at national level
    The project supports the national conservation area authority, local governments and the population in devising and realising strategic plans for establishing and managing systems of interlinked biotopes and networking structures. This is done on a participatory basis.
  2. Promotion of local dialogue and coordination forums
    The project strengthens the functions of local dialogue platforms and corridor committees for the coordination of protective measures and forms of use that are compatible with conservation within the corridors. Project resources and financial support are provided for corridor management measures and for small change projects to introduce more sustainable production systems on the part of local land owners, smallholders, large-scale farmers and the operators of small business enterprises.
  3. Establishment of financing instruments and mechanisms
    The establishment of local incentive systems with payments for ecosystem services (PES) is designed to secure the long-term financing and implementation of the strategic plans.
  4. Communications and knowledge management
    Lessons learned and best practices are disseminated in all corridor areas and made available for use worldwide at international events. This is achieved within the scope of a communications strategy and by means of improved knowledge management.