Projects in Central America
Sustainable Conservation of Marine Biodiversity Linking Marine-Coastal Tourism and Marine Protected Areas
Volume 1, No. 1

1. Summary
There is an urgent need to assure the ecological and economic sustainability of marine biodiversity conservation. The project will be directed at procuring and demonstrating the sustainability of marine biodiversity conservation through the integration of coastal tourism development with activities by the marine protected areas, using two specific case studies.

Many marine protected areas (MPAs) are connected with tourism activities, even though both are developed independently. Coastal communities are often marginalized by tourism and the MPAs. This has led to increased environmental degradation, a reduction in resources and conflicts.

2. Project Goal
Contribute to ecologically and economically sustainable marine and coastal biodiversity conservation through the integrated development of coastal tourism and marine protected zones.

3. Principal Objetives

  • Examine the relationship, including impacts, between coastal ecosystems (terrestrial, wetlands, and marine) that are important for integrated development of tourism and MPAs
  • Examine the role of local communities in coastal tourism and the MPAs.
  • Design and execute strategies and appropriate guidelines for conservation of marine biodiversity, through demonstrative activities that link the development of MPAs and marine-coastal tourism, with participation by local communities.
  • Facilitate participation between the two regions (East Africa and Central America) in experiences generated during project implementation, and take adva.ntage of lessons that may have universal application

The project will evaluate the impact of marine-coastal tourism on marine biodiversity and on coastal communities in the two regions of Central America and East Africa. Results of this evaluation will be taken into account in carrying out a comprehensive and cooperative approach regarding tourism and protected area development in one specific area in each region. Defined on-site activities will be implemented by national experts, and if necessary, with additional external experience. However, project performance will be monitored closely by IUCN. Depending on experiences, strategies and lines of work will be formulated for a comprehensive and cooperative approach to the development of tourism and protected areas.

It is anticipated that the project will continue marine biodiversity conservation, strengthening of regional and international cooperation, and improvement of South-South collaboration. This will demonstrate to the private sector its potential for contributing to marine conservation. Experiences generated throughout project implementation will have national, regional and global application. Guidelines produced by the project will be applicable in other regions.

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