Triangular cooperation between Mexico, Panama, Nicaragua and Germany: Developing alternatives for economic sustainability in the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor

Project description

Project title: Regional fund for the promotion of triangular cooperation in Latin America and the Caribbean – individual measure: Developing alternatives for economic sustainability in the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Nicaragua (recipient country), Mexico and Panama (partner countries)
Overall term: 2014 to 2016

Context

The Mesoamerican Biological Corridor is a multinational initiative that was founded in the 1990s. Its aim is to protect a contiguous region from southern Mexico to Panama that is characterised by high levels of biodiversity. The area is home to valuable forest zones as well as many rare animal and plant species, and it is an important natural bridge between North and Central America. It includes a number of special use zones and natural protected areas. Despite conservation efforts, the remaining semi-natural areas that are located outside the designated use zones and natural protected areas and have been placed under protection are suffering from ongoing deforestation, the conversion of forest areas into farmland and increasing environmental pollution. It is a major challenge to preserve the ecosystems and the services they provide and, at the same time, create income-generating opportunities for the people who live there.

CONABIO, the Mexican biodiversity commission, and ANAM, Panama’s national environmental authority, have successfully implemented numerous projects concerned with sustainable production systems in areas with high biodiversity. Nicaragua has a strong interest in these approaches.

Objective

The project develops models for the sustainable use of natural resources that are geared to the needs of the protected areas of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor in Nicaragua. It implements the models at a practical level and thereby contributes to conserving the natural heritage, reducing poverty among the rural population and mitigating climate change.

Approach

The triangular cooperation arrangement draws on the complementary interaction of the proven initiatives in Mexico and Panama and makes adjustments to address the situation in Nicaragua. It promotes the knowledge and skills of the local producers, enabling them to reconcile their economic needs with the preservation of the environment. CONABIO, ANAM and GIZ provide advice on selecting and sustainably producing items that particularly support nature conservation. The work mainly focuses on beekeeping. Alternative measures for the sustainable management of livestock and forests are also implemented.

Furthermore, the project partners train local producers in marketing and distribution. This facilitates the exchange of the experience gained with various options for product differentiation, such as designations of origin, certifications and eco-labels. These options provide added value to the products and thereby give them better sales prospects. In addition, the project propagates information on innovative instruments, such as ecological investments, systems of payment for ecosystem services and measures that promote the environmental responsibility of companies.

CONABIO, ANAM and GIZ work together on all activities with the network of private protected areas in Nicaragua. The network is establishing a monitoring system for voluntary nature conservation measures and is reviewing important lessons learned within the scope of triangular and South-South cooperation. Successful pilot projects are to be replicated in other communities in Nicaragua.

Due to the strong participation of women in the production and marketing of the products and services, the project contributes to gender equality in the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor.

Results

This triangular cooperation measure has already achieved initial results. In early 2015, Nicaraguan beekeepers attended the Ninth Mesoamerican Congress on Native Bees in the Mexican state of Chiapas. The group participated in the exchange of experience and knowledge and attended training courses on production methods and techniques. This provided them with considerable impetus for their work, which they were able to put to practical use in Nicaragua.