The USA National Park Service and Costa Rica Parks signed an agreement to work cooperatively to protect national parks. According to the press release, “agencies will work together to support planning, development, management and operation of protected natural parks and cultural sites. Agencies will also share information in fire management and control, climate change adaptation, marine protected areas and the development of educational and public information.” The accord will support conservation practices and sharing resources that serve the interests of the national parks for both countries. Already, the US Park Service has a cooperative relationship with Costa Rica’s park service.
These types of international partnerships between intergovernmental agencies and the private sector are exactly what is needed, in part, to protect endangered species. Yesterday, I wrote about the critically endangered species list that made international headlines. The report calls for international regulation and cooperation to protect the environment and save endangered species. Perhaps, the USA and Costa Rica’s partnership can provide a model for more types of programs and relationships desperately needed in the world. The National Park Service and Costa Rica parks working together is not new, it dates back to the 1960s.
More than 150 birds found in the summer at Rocky Mountain National Park migrate to Costa Rica every fall. In order to protect migration patterns everyone needs to be on the same page and this requires international partnerships. Under this partnership, the agencies will work together Wildlife is not constrained to nation-state borders and to ensure their protection requires international measures. The same way you can not restrain air pollution to effecting one country. What one country does to their wildlife and ecosystems directly impacts the rest of the world.
In addition to the environmental benefit, ecotourism is an important part of Costa Rica’s economy. Costa Rica’s parks bring in an $1.5 billion/ per year in ecotourism and less tangible ecosystem services. Corcavado National Park generates $93 million a year for local communities in the form of ecosystem services and tourism. The total budget for this small developing nation is $2 billion a year. Protecting these vital parks and endangered species requires international funding to assist partnerships such as the one between the USA and Costa Rica.
By implementing these programs we protect wildlife and natural resources for future generations to come. We need to develop more international cooperative relationships such as this one, as well as international laws to implement effective conservation strategies and stop climate change. Perhaps the USA can also learn from Costa Rica’s model ecotourism, which makes preserving their national parks not only the right thing to do but also vital to their economic well-being.