The regional program, Management of Aquatic Resources and Alternative Development (MAREA), strengthens coastal and marine resources management in order to reduce environmental threats, conserve biodiversity, and improve livelihoods.
One area covered by the program is the Caribbean Cahuita-Bocas del Toro coastal ecosystem shared by Panama and Costa Rica. Increased development in the area, overfishing, marine pollution, runoff caused by deforestation and agriculture practices, along with industrial and urban pollution threaten the fragile and unique ecosystem along this coastline.
USAID, through MAREA, promotes effective monitoring and enforcement of coastal and marine resource policies and legislation. Assistance also fosters incentives for the conservation and sustainable use of coastal and marine ecosystems.
To reduce threats posed by unsustainable fishing practices and coastal development in Cahuita-Bocas del Toro, USAID-financed technical assistance and training focuses on promoting rights-based management regimes and best fisheries practices; conserving critical marine biodiversity; and improving economic well-being of marine resource stakeholders.
BACKGROUND AND PRESENTATION
In 1992, the presidents of Central American countries signed a Regional Agreement for Biodiversity. One of the main points in the agreement addressed the marine resources management, which has been object of donor-funded projects over the last past 15 years. USAID has been one of the main allies of marine resource programs, providing technical and financial resources to attain a balance between resource conservation and the welfare of local populations. USAID and NOAA, have supported the region’s efforts to improve coastal marine management and related legislation. To consolidate these efforts, the USAID “Management of Aquatic Resources and Economic Alternatives” program represents an opportunity to address the challenges faced by local communities. The program is developing strategic interventions in places of critical importance for biodiversity, identified in article 18 of the Central American Biodiversity Agreement as “trans-boundary marine coastal areas in Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panamá.” The Program will be implemented in close coordination with the Central American Integration System (SICA), CCAD and OSPECA, municipalities, NGOs, and local communities.
PROJECT GOAL AND STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES
To strengthen Central American coastal and marine resources management in order to reduce environmental threats, conserve biodiversity and improve livelihoods.
The two specific objectives of this program are:
The Program will also promote implementation of international and regional coastal marine and environmental agreements ratified by Central American countries. The program will also foster economic alternatives to improve livelihoods in local communities.
USAID works with the following institutions and organizations to implement in Panama activities under its MAREA Regional Program:
Government of Panama:
Ministry of Health
NGOs, PVOs, and Private Firms:
Pan American Social Marketing Organization/Population Services International (PASMO/PSI)
Program for Strengthening the Central American Response to HIV/AIDS (PASCA/Futures Group)
National Council of Private Businesses
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)
United Nations Development Program (UNDP)
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
Other U.S. Government agencies and offices:
President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)
U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)