Protected areas in Mesoamerica: A basis for enhancing livelihoods and addressing climate change.
Central American Commission on Environment and Development (CCAD)
Date and Time
27 October 2010 13:15 - 14:45
The Mesoamerican region is known as one of the biodiversity hotspots of the World. The countries of the region have undertaken multi-year processes to identify the priority areas, strategies, and financing needs required to ensure the ecological representation and effective management of biodiversity, as called for by the CBD Programme of Work on Protected Areas. With growing political will and increased potential for international cooperation, the region is poised to use the protected area system to address climate change and achieve its sustainable development aspirations. The side event will present growing political will, priorities and actions to take national action within an integrated regional vision to meeting the goals of the Convention, especially under the framework of the Program of Work on Protected Areas, as a means to increase livelihoods while conserving biodiversity and ecosystem functions. These priorities and have been identified based on national planning processes and have grown into a regional vision, with support of the Central American Commission for Environment and Development (CCAD) under the Central American Integration System (SICA), and other partners. The needs identified are being profiled through the CBD’s LifeWeb Initiative, and international cooperation is invited to join the countries of the region in the effort to conserve these ecosystems of global significance. The Central American Protected Areas System (SICAP) grew out of the Convention on Biodiversity and was established under CCAD, is now one of the most consolidated environmental integration initiatives in the region, based on National Protected Area Systems (SINAP). Currently, it is comprised of 557 legally established protected areas, which account for approximately 25% of Central America’s territory. In order to achieve the goals of the Convention, many initiatives have been conducted such as the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor and the Mesoamerican Marine Corridor. Nevertheless, the Region has also been characterized by a rapidly increasing population leading to the advancement of the agricultural frontier and consequently high deforestation rates. In the last years additional impact is being observed due to climate change and the region is currently being considered as a climate change hotspot. Consequently, food security, poverty and health are viewed as the main challenges for the Region and protected areas are recognized as playing a fundamental role in the capacity to maintain vital ecosystem services and serve as the basis for adaptation to climate change.