Triangular Cooperation between Costa Rica, Morocco and Germany for the Sustainable Management and Use of Forests, Protected Areas and Watersheds

March 17, 2019
Challenge Climate change is forcing many countries to struggle with desertification, forest fires and the unsustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems. Since the mid-1990s, the Government of Costa Rica has sought solutions that enable it to improve its watershed management practices and prevent and fight forest fires. Morocco meanwhile has long-standing expertise in this field and, for its part, is interested in harnessing Costa Rica’s world-famous experience in exploiting the socioeconomic potential of its national parks and protected areas as well as its experience in handling payments for forest environmental services. ( Towards a Solution In 2013, Costa Rica, Morocco and Germany launched a cooperation project to strengthen the sustainable management and use of forests, protected areas and watersheds. The project responds to the needs of each country through knowledge- sharing on topics in which the partner country has expertise. For example, in the last 20 years, Costa Rica has made a great deal of progress in environmental protection and the sustainable management and use of natural resources. It has thus shared its knowledge and experience in the conservation of forest ecosystems and ecotourism with Morocco. Morocco in turn has shared with Costa Rica its experience and knowledge in addressing water scarcity and drought and in combating desertification as well as its highly efficient techniques for watershed area management. The two countries organized training sessions. With Moroccan support, Costa Rica is now creating software that enables it to use static and dynamic risk maps of forest fires for the Costa Rican pilot region of Guanacaste. Meanwhile, Morocco is planning to implement a national strategy on protected areas to preserve natural and cultural heritage as part of a vision of sustainable development, an area for which the Costa Rican experience will be of great interest. Germany has been an active partner in the implementation of the project, including through planning, organization of technical exchanges, capacity development and funding. The key methodological approach of this partnership includes:
  • Exchange and knowledge-sharing activities during implementation: workshops, field trips and training (17 visits guided by the institutional focal points in Costa Rica and Morocco) were conducted involving 86 representatives of ministries, administrations, private enterprises and non-governmental organizations of both countries. Technicians travelled to the other partner country to support the implementation of pilot projects, using support through e-mail, Skype and other technological resources. Regular communication was promoted among focal points and beneficiaries to attain a successful result that responded to the needs and realities of each country;
  • Application of knowledge in the field is also essential: Pilots projects are implemented in each country in light of the other country’s successful actions;
  • Active participation of beneficiaries beginning at the conceptualization phase: In order to respond to the project’s aims, the active participation of beneficiaries from the outset was a key factor in validating the process of knowledge-sharing and in identifying the needs of each country in specific thematic areas; and
  • South-South cooperation replication: Experiences of this cooperation were shared with other Arab States and North African countries and cooperation partners.
The approach adopted is based on a mutual learning process, the integration of ongoing national actions and the implementation of new pilot actions in the main thematic areas of mutual interest and benefit to the two countries. This approach has ensured strong national ownership and commitment, which will significantly increase project sustainability. The project was implemented with financial contributions from the three countries and the active participation of national organizations. Germany supported the implementation of the project in both countries, with funding from the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) Fondo Regional para la Cooperación Triangular en América Latina y el Caribe and management by colleagues of the German Agency for International Development (GIZ) based in Rabat and working on the BMZ-supported Silva Mediterranea-Collaborative Partnership on Mediterranean Forests (CPMF). In Costa Rica, the Fundecooperación para el Desarrollo Sostenible was the focal point in alliance with the Ministry of Environment and Energy, supported by or in cooperation with relevant institutions and organizations such as the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC), the National Forestry Financing Fund (FONAFIFO), the Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT), the Advisory Commission on Land Degradation (CADDETI) and the Foundation for the Development of the Central Volcanic Range (FUNDECOR). In Morocco, the High Commission on Water, Forests and Combating Desertification was the focal point, supported by or in cooperation with relevant institutions and organizations active in the field of sustainable forest management and the sustainable use of forest goods and services in the context of climate change. Contact:
  • Ms. Marianella Feoli, Executive Director Fundecooperación para el Desarrollo Sostenible
  • Mr. Abderrahim Houmy, High Commission on Water, Forests and Combating Desertification
  • Mr. R. Alexander Kastl, GIZ
Countries / territories involved: Costa Rica, Germany, Morocco Sustainable Development Goal targets: 13.b, 13.1, 13.2, 13.3, 15.a, 15.b, 15.1, 15.2, 15.3, 15.4, 15.5, 15.9, 17.9, 17.16, 17.17 Supported by: Costa Rica, Germany, Morocco Implementing entities: Costa Rica: Fundecooperación para el Desarrollo Sostenible, the Ministry of Environment and Energy, relevant institutions and organizations; Morocco: High Commission on Water, Forests and Combating Desertification, relevant institutions and organizations; Germany: GIZ Project status: Ongoing Project period: 2013 – 2016 URL of the practice: