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    GEF Grants $4.8 Million to Help Costa Rica Upgrade Its National Parks

    By Keith R | June 28, 2007

    Topics: Biodiversity, Conservation, Sustainable Tourism | No Comments »

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    Temas Note: This is in addition to the US$20 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank late last year to help Costa Rica’s national park system promote sustainable tourism in the protected areas.

    From the Global Environment Facility (GEF):

    Costa Rica gets $4.8 million infusion to upgrade its world-class national parks system

    The GEF Council today approved a landmark grant of $4.8 million to strengthen Costa Rica’s famed but threatened national parks system. The system, for many years a world-class standard of environmental excellence, is threatened by deforestation, illegal harvesting of resources, and management inefficiencies.

    “Costa Rica is a top tourist destination for the Americas,” said Monique Barbut, GEF CEO and Chairperson. “We are pleased that the funds will finance innovative conservation activities and programs designed to better manage the biologically rich and diverse national parks system while promoting sustainable development to benefit people and the environment.”

    Eco-tourism is the bedrock of Costa Rica’s economy, and a mainstay of the country’s unique patrimony of biological diversity and natural heritage. Although Costa Rica accounts for only 0.03 percent of the world’s surface area, it harbors 4.4 percent of all globally known biodiversity. Worldwide, Costa Rica ranks among the 20 most biologically diverse countries (in terms of total number of species) and is home to the largest diversity of known plant and vertebrate species in the Central American region.

    The overall project cost is estimated at $25 million, with the GEF grant providing a catalytic push that is expected to leverage cofinancing in a 1:4, or more, ratio.

    The project’s objectives include bringing over 1.8 million hectares of national parks under improvement management and:

    Local responsibility for the project is vested with National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC).

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