SICA: Protecting the Selva Maya rainforest

Project Description

Title: Strengthening the regional strategic and operational cooperation for the protection of the Selva Maya
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Financier: Belize, Guatemala, Mexico
Country: Belize, Guatemala, Mexico
Lead executing agency: General Secretariat of the Central American Integration System (SG-SICA) 
Overall term: 2019 to 2023

The Selva Maya landscape-Selva Maya Programme


The Selva Maya lies between Belize, Guatemala and southern Mexico. Spanning over ten million hectares, it is the largest contiguous tropical rainforest in Mesoamerica. With 23 different ecosystems in four million hectares of conservation areas, the rainforest acts as a natural water store and an important carbon sink. These functions are, however, under threat by practices such as unsustainable land use, illegal logging, illegal trade in flora and fauna, and ecosystem fragmentation. This fragmentation of animals’ natural habitats increases the likelihood of diseases being transmitted zoonotically from animals to humans, and vice versa. Furthermore, degraded ecosystems are less able to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change.


The regional cooperation at strategic and operational levels between Belize, Guatemala and Mexico for the protection of the Selva Maya is improved.


The project strengthens cooperation in the region, with a view to protecting the Selva Maya and its natural resources in the long term. In doing so, it focuses on the following fields of action:

It fosters the capacity for cooperation of the Strategic Coordination Group of the Selva Maya (GEC) and the Operational Coordination Group of the Selva Maya (GOC) and strengthens new and existing cooperation mechanisms between selected conservation areas and other relevant actors through targeted capacity building measures.

The project also seeks to improve the health of ecosystems and of animals and people. To achieve this goal, it is developing a regional dialogue platform for the promotion of interdisciplinary cooperation in reducing zoonotic risk.

Last update: February 2022

Operational Coordination Group-Selva Maya Programme_ Jorge Uribe