IUCN’s Regional Office for Mesoamerica and the Caribbean Initiative (ORMA) has its regional office located in San Jose, Costa Rica with smaller offices in Guatemala City, Chiapas, Mexico, and representation on the island of Guadeloupe. It has 106 members among state and non-governmental organizations. The regional office covers 21 countries in Mesoamerica and the Caribbean (Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, The Bahamas, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Dominican Republic, Barbados, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Antigua and Barbuda).
Latin America & the Caribbean – Mesoamerica
The region is actively involved in the implementation of the World Heritage Convention by:
a. Providing support to the periodic reporting processes
b. Providing support to monitoring missions
c. Contributing to capacity development initiatives on different aspects of the Convention
Despite representing only 2% of the world’s surface, the Mesoamerican region possesses around 12% of the planet’s biological wealth. It is home to the second most important barrier reef in the world, and 8% of the earth’s remaining mangroves. Currently more than 26% of the Central American territory is under some category of protection ; many of these areas are located in the territories of indigenous peoples and Afro-descendents. In Mexico, the National Commission for Protected Natural Areas (CONANP) oversees 174 federal protected areas, equivalent to more than 19.8 million hectares or 7.79% of Mexico’s land territory. This effort of in situ conservation is accompanied by important strides in environmental legislation in almost all of the countries of the region. However, institutional capacity to guarantee the conservation of this natural heritage is still less than ideal, and several ecosystems are virtually unprotected.
In Mesoamerica and the Caribbean, IUCN has learned that natural resources managed sustainably and with stakeholder participation support peaceful communities. After decades of civil war in Central America, environmental themes have united Mesoamerican societies around common objectives and aspirations for a sustainable future.
Threats to biodiversity in the region include:
- Climate change
- Development projects
- Habitat loss and degradation
Mesoamerica and the Caribbean Initiative – IUCN Regional Office (ORMA)
Coordinator of Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use- Dr. Jose Courrau