This policy interaction provides clear examples of how research based results can be used to inform decision-making by government authorities.
EfD-CA Center has a long standing policy interaction with SINAC (National System of Protected Areas), the agency within the Ministry of Environment and Energy that oversees both marine and terrestrial protected areas in Costa Rica. This research driven relation was consolidated with a framework agreement of understanding for cooperation signed in 2011.
The latest outcome completed early in 2012 by EfD-CA researchers was a study to determine the cost of concession of non-essential services in Corcovado and Marino Ballena National Parks. This type of concession is governed by the country’s Biodiversity Law of 1998 and includes services such as room and board, rental of outdoor equipment, souvenir store, transportation of material and equipment, tours, and guiding.
This study built on a methodology to estimate the costs of concession of non-essential services designed for the Chirripó National Park. A significant aspect of this policy tool is that it can be adapted to different context that share basic similarities.
This research is important because it bestowed the parks’ managers with a methodology to assess the cost for this type of concessions. Financial resources are needed for the sustainability of protected areas but most importantly to free up time so park ranges and other staff can be fully dedicate to their core responsibilities of protection and management rather dealing with services which can be provided by a third party. Concessions also provide business opportunities for socio-environmental entrepreneurs and job creation in local communities.
The Nature Conservancy (TNC) was a key partner for both studies and provided financial support. The methodology created by EfD-CA has been approved by CONAC (National Commission of Conservation Areas) as the official method for estimating the costs in the concession of non-essential services in State Protected Areas.