The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Aquatic Resources Authority of Panama have worked to integrate biodiversity conservation into fishing and tourism in Panama's archipelagos.
The archipelagos are a special coastal marine management zone whose inhabitants rely on artisanal fishing, tourism and agriculture. However, the fish population and jobs have been declining in recent years, according to UNDP.
To address these concerns, UNDP has carried out a project that includes awareness building, community initiatives and training activities. The project raised awareness on ecosystem conservation through training programmes on biodiversity conservation and responsible fisheries. Trainings for hotel and restaurant staff focused on sustainable tourism practices. The project also conducted studies on tourism potential.
“The loss of biodiversity could have significant and negative economic impacts on fishing, tourism and real estate development in Panama,” according to Leyka Martínez, the project coordinator. Martínez further explained that key actors increasingly understand the importance of sustainable natural resource use.
The project is also working to facilitate partnerships among residents, government and the private sector. The Global Environment Facility (GEF) provided support for the project.