Principal Initiatives

The program will focus its major efforts on mobilizing a previously established regional network consisting of some 40 professionals interested in the management and conservation of wetlands and coastal zones. Work will take place in the following fields of action:

1. Establishment of national and regional priorities concerning management and conservation of wetlands and coastal zones in Central America

These priorities will be defined in conjunction with national wetlands and coastal zones working groups.

The program will also have a regional advisory committee consisting of local experts and Union representatives (Members, Commissions and the Secretariat) The work of these professionals will make it possible to orient and evaluate the work experiences and activities of the program.

2. Institution Strengthening

The program will promote technical support and training for professionals and organizations interested in the conservation and management of wetlands and coastal zones. It is important to emphasize that through this program, IUCN will play a facilitating role in mobilizing existing capacity in the region, using the specialists network to achieve its objectives. This process will be carried out through the following mechanisms:

  • Technical assistance
  • Training
  • Small incentives for projects
3. Comprehensive strategic planning for wetlands and coastal zones

Continuity will be given to actions aimed at management of regional wetlands and coastal zones through technical participation and facilitation of demonstrative activities and areas in the field occurring in national, regional and global projects, in conjunction with regional partners.

The goal of these wetlands and coastal zones initiatives is primarily to:

  • develop principles for sustainable use of their resourcesLago Atitlán
  • establish and test strategies for their ordering and comprehensive management in Central America
  • identify working principles for sustainable use of their resources
  • provide regional populations with practical elements on which regional work networks can mobilize their capacities and systematize information based on real cases
  • develop and test methodologies for economic valuation, participative planning and sustainable use, and utilize these as tools for decision-making
  • contribute to conservation of their biodiversity in the region through sustainable use and comprehensive planning
Fonseca Gulf Project Nicaragua, Honduras,
El Salvador
DANIDA CCAD, PROARCA, Local government 3.5 years
Conservation of resources associated with Pacific mangroves Guatemala UE INAB,
IUCN Members
Local government
3 years
Conservation of Laguna Lachuá National Park and its area of influence Holland Holland INAB
Local NGOs
Local government
5 years
Wetlands Conservation Strategy for Costa Rica Costa Rica Holanda NGOs/ GO
IUCN Members
2 years
Tourism and Management of Protected Marine Zones Central America BMZ
GO and NGOs
IUCN Members
Other projects
3 years
Marine Corridor
(under construction)
Costa Rica
to be determined TNC, PROARCA
IUCN Members (6) Local government
to be determined

The regional network and the specialists groups will serve as the principal instruments for discussion, systematization and diffusion of information and experiences generated and compiled by the program.

4. Promotion of the regional network and diffusion of information

Through the regional network of specialists in wetlands and coastal zones, the program will promote electronic forums of discussion on important topics in this field. The networks and working groups will serve as vehicles for discussion, systematization and dissemination of information on case studies promoted by IUCN through its programs, partners and members. The program will place special efforts on integrating its own initiatives with actions being developed by other IUCN members. For example, it will promote the work of the mangroves working group as part of the network for the Sustainable Use Initiative, fomented by the world-level Species Survival Commission.

The program will also implement a communications strategy that includes:

  • Diffusion of publications by IUCN and its members and partners in the field of wetlands and coastal zones conservation
  • Distribution of IUCN publications through the specialists networks and working groups
  • Preparation of a website that will include the information presented in this pamphlet, the directory of wetlands specialists, an electronic bulletin and incorporation of the Wetlands and Coastal Zones
  • Establishment of a wetlands and coastal zones database for the region, as an instrument for monitoring management in the area


5. Support for international treaties and policies on wetlands and coastal zones conservation

There are numerous conventions, treaties and international agreements of regional and international importance. Most of these have been signed in the region, but very few are actually being implemented in practice. The program hopes to contribute in (a) promoting these treaties and their basic principles, (b) collaborating with signatory nations in complying with treaty commitments, and (c) collaborating with treaty secretariats in the implementation of their regional work plans, when this is required. For seven years the program has been collaborating in regional implementation of the Ramsar Convention, but there are other treaties that must be incorporated in program actions in order to achieve a more effective interaction in promoting the conservation of wetlands and coastal zones. Treaties that have been identified a priori as being most important are the following:

  • Ramsar Convention
  • Sea Convention
  • Protocol for the Greater Caribbean Basin (Spaw)
  • Southeast Pacific Agreement
  • Convention on Biological Diversity (Chapter 17)
  • Tulum Declaration on the Mesoamerican Caribbean Reef System

It should be emphasized that the program will attempt to assist the Central American Commission on Environment and Development (CCAD) in the implementation of regional policy on wetlands and coastal zone conservation, as an initial step toward the development and implementation of regional policies in this area.

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