Costa Rica advances in conserving 30 percent of its marine areas

Costa Rica, Cabo Blanco.

Costa Rica advances in conserving 30 percent of its marine areas

Endowed with 3.5 million dollars, the fund intends to meet and maintain the 30×30 goals, an initiative that seeks for all countries to protect 30 percent of their land and marine area by 2030.

By Judit Alonso
21 January 2021
Source: DW Agency

Costa Rica has launched the first fund in Latin America aimed at financing the long-term conservation of the 30×30 goals. The Forever Blue Fund, initially endowed with 3.5 million dollars, aims to comply with and maintain the protection of 30 percent of the land and marine area of ​​the Central American country in 2030.

The 30×30 goals are promoted by the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People, an intergovernmental group co-chaired by Costa Rica and France that has the participation of fifty countries, including Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and Peru.

“Our country has six percent of the world’s biodiversity,” said Haydée Rodríguez, Vice Minister of Waters and Seas of Costa Rica. “We also recognize the role that marine life plays in regulating ocean temperature. The latter acquires special relevance, based on the fact that our country has eight percent of continental territory and an impressive 92 percent of marine territory ”, he added, ensuring that“ it is crucial to maintain the integrity of mangrove ecosystems, coral reefs and the seabed for fish populations ”.

However, the country is currently below the goals that it had set. “When the Aichi Biodiversity Goals were defined, the goal in marine conservation was to reach 10 percent of the exclusive economic zone of each country as a protected zone, but allowing each country to adjust the goals to its own reality. Costa Rica la it adjusted, according to its reality, to four percent. These goals were in force from 2010 to 2020, and Costa Rica has not yet reached 4 percent, “acknowledged Mónica Gamboa, Manager of Marine Conservation of the Costa Rica Forever Association.

This non-profit organization, which has more than ten years of experience in environmental initiatives, will manage the fund. “We have been key allies in the creation of four marine protected areas: Cabo Blanco, Bahía Santa Elena, Montes Submarinos and Barra del Colorado, which have added more than 11,000 square kilometers to the map of protected areas in the country,” Gamboa stressed.

A small country with great ambition

Despite the fact that the Central American country has a long way to go to achieve its objective, “it is totally feasible,” said Maximiliano Bello, executive advisor for Ocean Public Policies of the Mission Blue organization. “When Michelle Bachelet took office, in her Last period, Chile had 4 percent sea protection. When he left the government, Chile had 43 percent ”, he reminded the Chilean expert.

In this sense, Gamboa, considered that “the country has prioritized marine conservation issues in recent years.” Bello agrees: “There has been a discussion centered on Cocos Island that seeks expansion to protect the species that are today in danger, like sharks ”. The Chilean expert recalled the importance of the place due to its connection with the Galapagos Islands and with Panama, since, without protection in the area, these species continue to be fished. “Therefore, it is key for Costa Rica to move forward,” he said.

This is precisely one of the areas that the Fund intends to protect, Rodríguez advanced. “Initially, it would be venturing into the financial strengthening of the actions necessary for the conservation and sustainable use of the waters near the Isla del Coco National Park and in the South Pacific. Both are sites characterized by their abundant and endemic biodiversity, which makes them in places of high ecological value “, he said.

An incentive for the region?

“The idea is that the countries that support this initiative feel motivated to contribute to the growth of this fund or to replicate it in other regions as was the case of the payments for environmental services ”, pointed out the Vice Minister of Waters and Seas of Costa Rica.

According to Gamboa “success will depend on the ability of governments and organizations to mobilize funds from other latitudes to this region.” And he said that, although Latin America has great natural capital compared to other regions of the world, “much commitment is needed. policy to attract investment in conservation for this region ”. And the thing is that “they are not government policies, if not, they are long-term state policies,” added Bello.

Likewise, Gamboa called for support from other sectors “that should play an important role in achieving the goals, such as the private sector.” An event could be carried out shortly in Chile, because, as Bello indicated, “there is a discussion around two bills: one that creates the national park service, with which all marine protected and terrestrial areas would remain a single institution. And a bill on donations – which is key to generating money from private donors – for the implementation of protected areas ”.

And it is that the initiative comes at a time when a health and economic crisis is hitting the region. “The Latin American context has not been the most favorable for governments to allocate funds for conservation. If marine conservation is already expensive, since they are large areas that require control and protection, as well as technology and personnel, it is Clearly, for Latin American countries there is no advantage to invest in conservation issues “, concluded Gamboa. (cp)

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