The government of Costa Rica, through SINAC and in alliance with external partners—the Linden Trust for Conservation, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Walton Family Foundation and TNC—developed the Forever Costa Rica Program (PCRXS).
- Annual Report: Informe 2014-2015 (pdf)
Forever Costa Rica Program
The Forever Costa Rica Program (PCRXS) was developed as a national strategy to fulfill the country’s conservation goals declared under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD),
to achieve consolidation of a system of ecologically representative and efficiently managed protected areas adapted to the effects of climate change and with a source of sustainable financing.
Under the framework of a public-private alliance, el PCRXS has been financed from 2010 to 2015 by the following sources:
- Forever Costa Rica Trust, administered by the ACRXS.
- Second Debt-for-Nature Swap between the government of the United States and the government of Costa Rica, administered by the ACRXS.
- Marine Coastal Biodiversity and Climate Change Project (BIOMARCC) of German government cooperation, administered by GIZ.
- GEF Project, Consolidated System of Marine Protected Areas of Costa Rica (CAMP-GEF-UNDP), administered by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
PCRXS efforts for ecological representativeness have aimed to contribute to political decision making to conserve important continental-water ecosystems, such as lentic (lakes) and lotic (steams) systems, some of which have been declared as Ramsar sites or include endemic species of fish or other organisms.
It also seeks to conserve coastal-marine ecosystems, such as estuary systems, coral formations, seagrasses, islands and islets, rocky beaches and upwelling areas (high productivity), among others, that are not currently represented in the National System of Protected Areas according the to the GRUAS II study.
PCRXS supported SINAC in updating and improving its tools for planning and monitoring of protected areas in order to establish a baseline that enables their better management and improves the health of the country’s biodiversity.
Important among these tools are management plan guides, a tool for monitoring management that integrates the measurement of indicators of ecological integrity, a nation biodiversity research strategy for protected areas, and a guide for developing business plans for protected areas.
One of the principal goals of the PCRXS is that the protected areas system adapts to the effects of climate change.
For this reason, a five-year pathway was established to generate, for the first time in the country, studies that identify the potential impacts of climate change on biodiversity, to study the vulnerability of its ecosystems (land, marine-coastal and inland waters), to construct a map of risks that allows prioritization of investments and efforts, to establish a national adaptation strategy for biodiversity, and to design and implement an ecological monitoring system that allows measurement of the status and tendencies of conservation of biodiversity in Costa Rica.
To achieve a proper order in financing, coordination, implementation and monitoring of annual PCRXS activities, a Cooperation Committee was established, which is made up of representatives of SINAC and ACRXS. Highlights among the main results attained by the committee in 2014–2015 follow:
a) Dissemination of the results achieved by PCRXS in 2014–2015 in workshops with personnel of all of the conservation areas and joint reflection on the opportunities and areas for improvement in this public-private alliances.
b) Independent evaluation of the progress toward fulfillment of the national conservation goals for protected areas and of the performance of PCRXS, whose analysis shows a high degree of execution for the 2010–2015 period, with 62% for the Ecological Representativeness component, 92% for Management Effectiveness, and 100% for Climate Change.
c) Facilitation to update the national conservation goals for protected areas 2016–2020) under the CBD. On August 25, 2015, a working session was held with the most relevant governmental entities to do with state protected areas and with key people in technical definition and decision making about the character and scope that these goals should have.
Among participants were the minister and vice ministers of the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE), the executive director of SINAC, the executive director of the National Commission for Biodiversity Management (CONAGEBIO), the SINAC technical managers and the executive director of the State Forestry Administration.
d) Definition of the PCRXS 2016–2020 Performance and Monitoring Plan in a workshop, with participation of staff members of all conservation areas and representatives of MINAE, SINAC and CONAGEBIO. The plan has the same components of the 2010-–2015 plan plus one more: Governance and Social Participation, which proposes creation of socially and institutionally just governance mechanisms that are effective and sustainable over time.
e) Implementation of 100% of the PCRXS 2015 Annual Work Plan.
f) Orderly distribution of activities among the different sources of PCRXS financing.
The BIOMARCC cooperation project has invested approximately US$350,000 during the period reported, reaching a total investment for 2010–2014 of US$1,014,992 in PCRXS activities. For its part, the CAMP-GEF-UNDP project has allocated the sum of US$210,000 during 2014–2015, arriving at a total investment of US$463,000 in these past three years.
In 2014–2015, ACRXS, as administrator of the Second Debt-for-Nature Swap, gained approval from the Oversight Committee to assign US$2,989,799 to implement PCRXS activities related to terrestrial protected areas, reduction of threats to biodiversity in accordance with management plans of the protected areas, and PCRXS technical tools of national impact, reaching an investment US$3,852,210 in conservation goals for the 2012–2015 period. Also, as administrator of the Forever Costa Rica Trust, it received approval from the board of directors to assign US$560,000 to activities to increased management effectiveness of the 14 marine protected areas existing in 2009, reaching a total investment in PCRXS activities of US$1,679,303 since 2010.
It should be noted that as a result of the proper coordination among the four sources of financing for PCRXS, for the 2010–2015 period, SINAC mobilized US$7,009,505 to fund fulfillment of its conservation goals and implement the actions proposed in the 2010–2015. Implementation and Monitoring Plan.
Highlights among the principal achievements of the first five years of PCRXS include:
a. Development of biological and social studies to find the state of ecosystem health in 20 sites identified as important for conservation according to the GRUAS II study.
b. Implementation of multisectorial platforms for dialogue to jointly define conservation strategies.
c. Update and linkage of technical tools for management of protected areas: guide for developing management and business plans; tools for monitoring management of protected areas, including indicators of biological integrity and standardization of biological monitoring protocols in the protected areas.
d. Development of national strategies and programs: National Biodiversity Strategy, National Research Strategy for Protected Areas and consolidation of the Nation Ecological Monitoring Program (PROMEC).
e. Preparation of ‘management plans for 36 protected areas, doubling the number of protected areas that had this strategic planning in 2009.
f. Implementation of management plans for 47 protected areas aimed at reducing the threats to biodiversity, improving management effectiveness and improving ecological integrity.
g. Development of studies on vulnerability of the ecosystems and their services associated with climate change, providing SINAC with its first national risk map for protected areas.