New category of the ecological blue flag programme announced

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The Ecological Blue Flag Programme (PBAE) has a new category called “Biodiversity” which aims to encourage organisations and committees to conserve, restore and sustainably use biodiversity in the country.

The presentation of this new category was made this Wednesday in a virtual presentation with the participation of Franklin Paniagua, MINAE’s Vice-Minister of Environment; Darner Mora, Executive Director of the Ecological Blue Flag Programme; Elizabeth Venegas, Director of the Business Association for Development, and Svenja Paulino, Director of the Biodiversity and Business Programme in Central America and the Dominican Republic. Representatives of the German Development Cooperation, GIZ, the Ministries of Public Education and Agriculture and Livestock, among others, also participated.

“This category is a national achievement that allows public entities to forge alliances with the private sector and civil society organisations to promote the involvement of more actors in biodiversity awareness and management,” explained Franklin Paniagua Alfaro, MINAE’s Vice-Minister of Environment.

The Biodiversity Award was created by an inter-institutional committee of experts consisting of the Business Alliance for Development (AED), GIZ, the National Commission for Biodiversity Management (CONAGEBIO) of MINAE, the Mesoamerican Biodiversity Partnership (BPM), the law firm Batalla, the Ministry of Public Education (MEP) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The director of the Biodiversity and Business Programme in Central America and the Dominican Republic, Svenja Paulino, explained that the creation of incentives or recognition aimed at civil society and the private sector in the area of conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, such as this award, “will allow Costa Rica to continue advancing towards the fulfilment of international goals and to position itself more and more as a green country that invests in sustainable development and recognises the value of its natural capital,” she said.

The National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) will be in charge of coordinating the technical team of the new category, responsible for ensuring the quality of the projects, assessing their contribution to biodiversity and providing follow-up and support to the organisations that opt for the award.

Inter-institutional effort. “This category offers an incentive to organisations, so that through a simple and guided system they can recognise the importance of working on this issue and achieve an award for their efforts,” added Elizabeth Venegas, director of the environmental dimension of AED.

These actors worked together to elaborate a tool that allows interested individuals and organisations (including local communities, indigenous peoples, companies, public and private institutions) to establish actions in favour of biodiversity, under two pillars: biodiversity conservation and sustainable use.

The organisations determined the objective of the new category, the scope, as well as the different parameters to be met in order to be awarded.

“The new flag crowns the evolution of the country’s most important environmental programme, this time focused on encouraging a culture of biodiversity protection, with proactive actions to maintain the balance between flora, fauna and human beings in our country,” said Darner Mora Alvarado, executive director of PBAE.

This award is aligned with the global commitments that the country has assumed to prevent the loss of biological diversity and with the fulfilment of the National Biodiversity Policy and Strategy, in which Costa Rica is committed to manage and use biodiversity in a sustainable manner, strengthen citizen participation and the distribution of its benefits.

Ecological Blue Flag Programme. The PBAE is a free and voluntary programme, which rewards the organisation, effort and excellence of local committees and their voluntary work to improve the hygienic and environmental conditions of Costa Rica. Interested individuals and organisations can register for this category until 15 April. For more information, please visit https://banderaazulecologica.org/ or write to categoria.biodiversidad@gmail.com

The development of the new blue flag category was assisted by GIZ, thanks to the German Government’s support to Central America and the Dominican Republic for the incorporation of the private sector in biodiversity conservation, commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

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