Environmental Conservation


Implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Mesoamerica: environmental and developmental perspectives

Mariel Aguilar-Støen a1 and Shivcharn S. Dhillion a1a2c1
a1 Department of Biology and Nature Conservation, Agricultural University of Norway, PB 5014, N-1432, Ås, Norway
a2 Centre for Development and the Environment (SUM), University of Oslo, Box 1116, Blindern, 0317 Oslo, Norway

Article author query
aguilar-støen m   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
dhillion s   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


Mesoamerica (Southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama) is a culturally diverse region considered a conservation priority due to its biotic richness and high endemism. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) sets out obligations and objectives for national parties to cope with biodiversity reduction, and encourages these national parties to develop measures to conserve and manage biodiversity. This paper presents trends in Mesoamerican countries in the implementation of the CBD, specifically in relation to the general measures for conservation and sustainable use (Article 6), identification and monitoring (Article 7), and in situ conservation (Article 8) derived from examination of reports from the CBD National Reports unit, questionnaires to national focal points, and interviews in the field. In general, there was increased effort toward CBD implementation and related issues. The scientific capacity, political stability, and accessibility to resources in each country, however, influenced the rate at which capacity was being built and the relative importance governments afforded to each of the CBD articles. Lack of resources or institutional limitations are identified as major impediments to fulfilling obligations. The CBD is also poorly known among actors in civil society and at several levels of administration. Overall, Costa Rica and Mexico are exceptions in the region with regard to inventory and monitoring, and the efforts to incorporate biodiversity into broader intersectoral policies. However, the measures required to ensure the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from biodiversity are poorly developed, or not developed at all, in the region. It is pivotal that, since Mesoamerica is one of the poorest regions in the world, any attempt to conserve biodiversity in the region must include sustainable use and equity.

(Received April 12 2002)
(Accepted November 22 2002)

Key Words: conservation; inventory; monitoring; implementation; biodiversity; Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

c1 Correspondence: Professor S.S. Dhillion Tel: +47 6494 8500 Fax: +47 6494 8502 e-mail: shivcharn.dhillion@ibn.nlh.no