ASANA continues to plug along and do the best it can with the limited resources it has to help conserve the Savegre River Watershed. The main focus of our efforts over the past few months has been to secure significant funding through local institutional donors here in Costa Rica. This, ironically, has been quite a challenge…. Let me explain a little of the context…
For those for you who are not fully aware of the “business” of global conservation, historically the “Big International Non-Governmental Organizations” (or affectionately known as “BINGOs”), primarily based in the US, have dominated international conservation efforts. In Central and South America, this has included four main US-based BINGOs. In Costa Rica, three of these four BINGOs have historically been active. Despite the generally favorable image of Costa Rica in conservation circles over the years, much of the work has actually been financed by US private and public donors through these BINGOs. However, to Costa Rica’s great misfortune, all three of these US-based BINGOs have all but pulled out completely from Costa Rica conservation over the past five years. Sadly, even where they do still work, these organizations no longer fund “place-based” conservation projects – projects like our very own “Savegre Forever! Project – but instead claim to be funding bigger (but significantly less tangible), more “policy-based” initiatives…
All this means that small Costa Rican non-governmental organizations (local “NGOs” like ASANA) have access to significantly less financial resources than they did just a few years ago. Many small conservation organizations have had to close their doors because of the void in funding left by the departure of the three US-based BINGOs. ASANA has been one of the lucky ones to survive – so far… We’ve done this because we have been able to access some local donor funding (for example, small grants from the Costa Rica office of The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the CR-USA Debt-for-Nature Swap Fund (“Canje Por Deuda”). We are currently working with another Costa Rica-based donor to help us in our Savegre work.
But, nothing has gotten us through this rough-patch more consistently and notably than the support we receive through GlobalGiving. It is not hyperbole to say: “We could not have survived without GlobalGiving and your support.” GlobalGiving has given us the platform to reach individual donors who want to see Costa Rica’s majestic natural resources conserved. We are eternally grateful to GlobalGiving and you for your continued support and we hope you find it in your heart to make another contribution – however small you may think it to be – to ASANA and our efforts to conserve the Savegre River Watershed. A little goes a long, long way with a small local organization like ASANA…
ASANA hopes that 2014 proves to be the year that we successfully get Savegre declared a Biosphere Reserve. Major tasks like this one – getting formal international recognition of the biological importance of an area such as the Savegre – are never easy to accomplish and require a lot of perseverance and patience. But we are getting close and we appreciate your support as we continue our efforts.
Here are some highlights of what is happening right now:
We're getting there... Somtimes more slowly that we would like, but like I said... "perseverance and patience"! Again, thanks for your continued support.
This past reporting period has been a bit quiet given the holidays at the end of the year. But we have made progress on lining up the Municipality of Aguirre and incorporating Manuel Antonio National Park into the proposal. The Path of the Tapir local council also continues to gather steam and is expected to be the entity that submits the Biosphere Reserve proposal to UNESCO.
Recently, one of the founders of Rafiki Safari Lodge (http://www.rafikisafari.com/ ) in the Savegre Watershed, Lautjie Boshoff, joined the ASANA Board. Rafiki is a wilderness luxury tent camp and conservation project focusing on adventurous sustainable tourism. It is one of Costa Rica’s premier truly “eco” ecotourism businesses… (Rafiki will soon be certified by ASANA and the Path of the Tapir local council for meeting extremely high biodiversity conservation standards.) Rafiki is nestled on 842 acres of pristine rain forest – all bought by the Boshoff family with conservation in mind – along the Savegre River, 30 km south of Quepos and Manuel Antonio. In addition to establishing and running Rafiki Lodge for many years, Lautjie is a Wildlife Biologist by training, with a specialty in wildlife reintroductions. We anticipate that we will be working closely with Lautjie and the Costa Rican government to analyze the feasibility and utility of reintroducing key species in the Savegre Watershed and Path of the Tapir Biological Corridor, including our flagship species, Baird's Tapir. The membership of ASANA could not be happier with Lautjie’s participation in the ASANA Board.
As always, I want to express my appreciation for your continued support of ASANA, the Path of the Tapir Biological Corridor, and the Savegre River Watershed.
From all of us at ASANA, we wish you a very happy 2014!
We've had a lot of movement related to our Savegre Watershed work during this past reporting period. Most of it revolves around organizing more and more support for the concept of a Biosphere Reserve. Perhaps the biggest news is the Municipal Council of Aguirre (Quepos/Manuel Antonio) asked us to come give them a presentation of our efforts in the Savegre. It appears that after being the only municipality that did not sign a letter of support for the Biosphere Reserve concept two years ago, they are interested in taking up the issue again. We are optimistic that the councils' invitation is an indicator of tits willingness to sign on...
We were also asked to address the local council of another biological corridor, Rio Naranjo, to see if we could work together along the pacific coast. We have much in common with the Titi (squirrel monkey) Foundation, which organized the corridor, and we expect we will working with them much more in the future.
Finally we have been hard at work working with some local volunteers to help redesign the proposed boundary of the Savegre Biosphere Reserve. It will now include Manuel Antonio National Park – Costa Rica's most visited park – and a marine buffer area from Manuela Antonio all the way to the coastal-marine sector of the Path of the Tapir Biological Corridor.
Any questions, I'd love to hear from you (email@example.com) and thanks for your continued support!
Our work in the Savegre River Watershed continues at a steady pace. We have had to spend more time building local support across a broad spectrum of stakeholders since our last submission of a proposal for Biosphere Reserve status with UNESCO was put on hold. This has come about primarily because we lacked one vote on the municipal council of Aguirre (Quepos) – one of the four municipalities from which we have sought formal support. But fortunately, what seemed to be a small setback has produced a very significant silver lining…. Local communities have expressed such a strong interest in the concept of a biosphere reserve that they have rallied to form their own local councils in order to show their formal support. This is true democracy in action. We expect to formalize local requests to the Costa Rican System of Protected Areas (SINAC) in the next few months in order to proceed with a final proposal to UNESCO. We will keep you posted but thank you for your continued support of this important project. Savegre Forever!
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Osa, San Jose,