Costa Rica lays the foundations for the implementation of the 30X30 goal

Costa Rica is addressing the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (KMGBF) Target 3

Costa Rica, under the leadership of the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC-MINAE), a dependency of the local Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE), conducts a participatory and inclusive process that intends to redefine the country’s marine and costal conservation priorities.

The process began in October 2022. Since then, a series of 5 participatory workshops involving national NGOs, academics, civil society and state institutions have been held in order to present, adjust and validate the necessary inputs to identify important sites for conservation:

The first part of the process was dedicated to collect, exchanges and validates preliminary information as a requirement for the definition of a new set of priorities in for the conservation and sustainable management of Costa Rica’s seas.

It revolved around the organization of the 4 following workshops:

  • In a 1st workshop held on November 8, 2022, a proposed distribution of Marine Ecological Units (UEM for its acronym in Spanish) was presented and adjusted, and main conservation objects (also called Focal Management Elements or EFM for its Spanish acronym) were identified and mapped.
  • In a 2nd workshop that took place on December 13, 2022, the distribution of the EFM was validated, their main uses and pressures were identified and their conservation and sustainable management goals were calculated.
  • In a 3rd workshop held on January 26, 2023, EFM’s conservation goals and distribution of uses and pressures were reviewed and adjusted.
  • In addition, a 4th workshop was organized on February 28, 2023 to discuss and receive additional inputs from stakeholders of the fishing and tourism sectors of Costa Rica.

Mónica Gamboa, Manager of Marine Conservation in Forever Costa Rica Association ensured that “It has been a great opportunity to show the value of public-private and other sectors partnerships (…). The most valuable thing about this process is to understand that we will not be able to achieve this conservation challenge without the cooperation between counterparts and without bringing to the table all relevant actors.

Four months after the adoption of the KMGBF, a 5th workshop took place on May 4, 2023 and brought together again representatives of the State institutions, civil society, NGOs, and Academy to further contribute to the marine coastal and oceanic areas management in Costa Rica. Participants discussed on a preliminary proposal for the prioritization of sites of importance for conservation and contributed to developing a consensus around the sustainable management of coastal and oceanic environment in Costa Rica.

Based on the results and recommendations collected in these previous rich exchanges, a 6th workshop was held on May 18, 2023 with involved stakeholders. It focused on presenting the results of the update of the marine-coastal and ocean conservation gaps analysis in Costa Rica, for both the Caribbean Sea area and the Pacific Ocean. This last workshop closed a process of consultation and exchange with experts, institutions, NGO’s and civil society, leaving a solid base to generate a roadmap for the country’s next steps on marine and coastal conservation.

© Photo: Marta Cambra, Costa Rica por Siempre’s NGO/ Photo: Daniel Murillo

With this effort led by SINAC, Costa Rica continues its course of action to further implement the KMGBF getting closer to the agreed conservation targets. As a leading country for the High Ambition Coalition (HAC) and a member of the Global Ocean Alliance (GOC), Costa Rica is determined to further lead the way to reach the goals of this agreement by 2030.

The process undertaken in Costa Rica is a clear example of how the whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach promoted by the Convention on Biological Diversity can raise ambition and ensure greater ownership in the continued and successful implementation of the KMGBF. While primarily contributing to achieving Target 3 of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework which invites the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity to intensify their effort to reach the “30X30 target” for marine and terrestrial conservation (30% of Earth’s land and ocean area are conserved and sustainably managed by 2030), it also contributes to the implementation of the targets 20 for scientific collaboration, 21 for the availability and accessibility of data, information and knowledge for decision-makers, and 22 for equitable, effective and gender-responsive representation and participation.

Jenny Asch, SINAC’s Marine & Coastal Program Coordinator, mentioned “The tools that we have developed in these workshops will help us to fulfill the country’s international commitments to the GBF, ensure the representativeness of different ecosystems and proper management for the conservation of Costa Rica’s marine-coastal areas.

© Photo: Jenny Ash, SINAC’s Marine & Coastal Program Coordinator/ Photo: Daniel Murillo 

“After a participatory, inclusive and innovative consultation process of over eight months, Costa Rica, led by SINAC, is on the verge of adopting a new set of priorities for marine and coastal protection. As a post- 2020 team, we were proud to support the creation of this valuable tool that will guide public institutions, private companies, and civil society at large towards sustainable ocean management.” concluded Nicolas Thomas, Coordinator of Knowledge & Capacity-building of Post2020 Biodiversity Framework EU-Support Project.

© Photo: Nicolas Thomas, Coordinator of Knowledge & Capacity-building of Post2020 Biodiversity Framework EU-Support Project/ Photo: Daniel Murillo 

The Post2020 Biodiversity Framework EU-Support project, funded by the European Union and implemented by Expertise France provides technical assistance to this process in collaboration with SINAC-MINAE and Costa Rica Forever Association in order to facilitate the Costa Rica’s efforts towards the implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.


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