Lesson Learned

Luis Fdo. Murillo R, Regional Coordinator for Costa Rica and Panama, Southern Mesoamerica Coordination Unit

Coordination Units, comprising locally based civil society groups, lead implementation of the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund’s (CEPF) investment strategy in each of the hotspots. They are tasked with ensuring that CEPF funding is delivering the outcomes identified in the CEPF ecosystem profiles. In the Mesoamerica Hotspot, there are coordination units in both the northern and southern regions to oversee separate CEPF investment strategies.

What was the most important lesson learned?

Conserving valuable natural resources in the world is the responsibility of an efficient society where actors from different environments work as a team, maximizing everyone’s virtues and potentials.

Describe how you learned this and whether / how you have adapted your approach or specific project elements as a result.

The management goals and outcomes of different conservation groups are often positive and constructive. However, the perspectives and strategies of local communities sometimes disagree and there is competition to occupy operational and financing spaces.

This conflict of ideas was leading to a decline in sustainable conservation. Because effective conservation strategies need the input of both internal and external resources, the CEPF Coordination Unit of Southern Mesoamerica was formed.

Since its beginning, the Coordination Unit has helped to identify the necessities for effective conservation by linking the processes and ideas of a range of actors and conservation groups with common and complementary objectives.

By forming good relationships and alliances with local civil society partners, a participative vision was carried out. In all cases, spaces (or conservation corridors) were created where the outcomes and threats to conservation were analyzed with great respect to the local culture and the potential of all of the participants.

Synergy between groups with projects financed by CEPF and those in search for complementary funds was the product of this process.

The coexistence, learning from others, and dialogue created has become custom in the Talamanca-Osa-Bocas del Toro biodiversity conservation corridor between Costa Rica and Panama. The process has also become the foundation of social sustainability that is fundamental for biodiversity conservation by all the residents of this region.

- November 2006