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Lessons learned and future opportunities under the environmental strategic objective of USAID and the government of Guatemala

by Portal Web Editor last modified Jan 10, 2013 09:11 AM
Contributors: Keith Kline

This evaluation and planning document provides lessons learned in a review of USAID support of conservation and development programs for the Maya Biosphere Reserve (MBR) from 1991-98 and offers recommendations for future program funding (1999-2005). USAID support enabled improved protection of over 600,000 ha. of the MBR due to integration of the following key activities: Assessing the value of biodiversity in local socio-economies to demonstrate tangible benefits of protection and sustainable use; Improving management of the protected areas (PAs) through increase in trained personnel, improved infrastructure, and participatory planning; Promoting environmental education of all stakeholders (local to national); Improving administration, technical capacity and financial planning through USAID support of CONAP (Guatemalan institution managing MBR). Community forestry concessions (CFC) have been successfully established and sustainable management has begun. CFC management committees have increased their technical capacity due to continuous technical support, but are largely dependent on external support for management and marketing. Policies and procedures for land tenure and usufruct rights are still not clearly understood in most communities, which hinders progress in community integration in resource management. Public-private partnerships have been an effective mechanism for improving MBR management and establishing profitable enterprises (eco-schools, ecotourism, sustainable non-timber product extraction). Sustainable harvesting of non-timber forest products and non-extractive forest uses has proven technically and socially feasible, however, these activities do not have the economic potential to sustain local economies in the long-term. Transfer of responsibilities to local institutions by international NGOs has been slow; local municipalities have not been effectively integrated in co-management. The author recommends: Expand public-private partnerships and co-management initiatives; use of community forest concessions as a model for other community-based activities; Establish a long-term funding mechanism for community activities and conservation actions and reduce dependence upon donor support; Focus national policy for the MBR region on conservation and sustainable use to prevent government-created conflicts between MBR and petroleum, agriculture and road development.

Author(s): Keith Kline

Publication Date: 1999

Download File from Portal: PDABR449 Guatemala.pdf — PDF document, 133 kB (136,192 bytes)

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