To improve the long term conservation of biodiversity in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) regions by providing better, more relevant and more accessible information for protected areas management, setting up a network of regional BIOPAMA observatories, developing a Reference Information System to host and facilitate the exchange of data, and to provide the associated capacity building to contribute to, and effectively use, these tools.
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Previously the establishment of the Mayan Biosphere Reserve, resources at the area were depredated principally for timber and hunting. Populations with no land certainty used resources with no sustainability guidelines. After the establishment of the MBR not many things changed and government was pushed to create a functional mechanism that reduced the depredation of resources.The concession mechanisms established gave the opportunity to organized communities and private enterprises to participate in the management and sustainable use of resources.
The money that countries spend to manage and maintain protected areas should not be considered an “expenditure” but an “investment.” This is not only a semantical issue, but also a conceptual and theoretical one. In general, countries, citizens, press, and ministers of finance praise the investment, but not the expenditure. For instance, in the case of the guards that work for these areas, should those salaries be considered as a general expenditure, or as an investment? If we do not pay for the guards, can we keep a protected area safe?
WCS will highlight experiences with PA-based enterprises working with local communities in Bolivia and Guatemala to help promote sustainable livelihoods and improve governance conditions. In Bolivia, WCS works in a suite of Protected Areas and indigenous territories to develop community-based natural resource management enterprises, ranging from chocolate cultivation to caiman harvesting and processing of skins. In Guatemala, WCS works with a community to sustainably harvest an understory palm frond known as xate.