An innovative private-sector based system of payment for conservation and ecosystem services has been established at Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. The agreement signed between the Global Conservation Standard (GCS) and the Non-Governmental-Organization FUNDECODES is designed to deal with ‘rural development for conservation efforts’. The total project area covers up to 10% of Costa Rica’s territory.
The peninsula of Nicoya at the Pacific coast of Costa Rica is known for its amazing beaches and wildlife. Every year, thousands of tourists enjoy beach life, diving and hiking. Part of the northwestern state of Guanacaste, the tropical peninsula features tropical season vegetation and important mangrove resources. In spite of its limited size, Nicoya is quite undulated, between sea level and 2,000m. Over the last 20 years, much of its montane forest has been restored.
The project will cover landscapes over 5,000 square km, which is 10 percent of the land territory of Costa Rica. The “Fundación para el Equilibrio entre Conservación y Desarrollo” FUNDECODES, in conjunction with other governmental and non-governmental organizations, will be responsible for the implementation of nature conservation as well as sustainable development activities on the peninsula in the context of the GCS agreement.
The Conservation Agreement is the basis for the establishment of a new financial mechanism, which works as private sector based system of payments for ecosystem services. It runs over a period of 30 years and enables landowners and rural communities to benefit from their biodiversity conservation efforts. It sets the stage for sustainable rural development activities, including tourism, sustainable farming and the restoration of degraded forest and mangrove areas.
The whole process of capacity building of local partners and establishment of this financial mechanism has been accompanied by the German Development Cooperation (Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GIZ) within its “Marine Biodiversity and Adaptation to Climate Change – BIOMARCC – Project”. BIOMARCC is financed by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) and its International Climate Protection Initiative (IKI).