To save The 5 Great Forests of Mesoamerica, we launched the Alliance of the 5 Forests, a collaboration that works to mobilize resources and promote a powerful and coordinated strategy to achieve broad and lasting impact.
The members of the Alliance of the 5 Forests are:
- 8 Central American governments —Belize, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, and the Dominican Republic— that are part of the Comisión Centroamericana de Ambiente y Desarrollo (CCAD)
- Indigenous peoples and local communities, including the Alianza Mesoamericana de Pueblos y Bosques
- Founding Partners, Re:Wild and Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)
- EU Project partners: Alianza Bioversity International and CIAT, as well as other local and international NGOs
- Funders: European Union, Green Climate Fund (GCF), and others
Partners committed to gender equality
Re: wild: Aims to protect and restores the diversity of life on Earth through innovative collaborations among individuals, communities, Indigenous peoples, governments, scientists, and businesses to drive the most pressing nature-based solutions to our planet’s urgent crises.
CCAD/SICA: The Polìtica Regional de Igualdad y Equidad de Género establishes that by 2025 the States parties to SICA have incorporated the necessary measures to guarantee the full development and advancement of women in Central America and the Dominican Republic, in conditions of equality and equity, in the political, social, economic , cultural, environmental and institutional spheres, both at the regional and national levels.
Alianza Mesoamericana de Pueblos y Bosques (AMBP): There is a Gender Commission since 2018. Likewise, the Coordinadora de Mujeres Líderes Territoriales de Mesoamérica, is a coordination space among women from indigenous peoples and forest communities that influence the main forest masses of Mesoamerica.
European Union: Gender Acion Plan III is an ambitious plan to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment through all external action of the European Union. It makes the promotion of gender equality a priority of all external policies and actions. GAP III promotes a transformative and intersectional approach and mainstream gender in all policies and actions.
Green Climate Fund (GCF): GCF consistently mainstream gender issues in its implementation arrangements and frameworks for its projects. The Gender Policy recognizes that gender relations, roles and responsibilities exercise important influences on women’s and men’s access to and control over decisions, assets and resources, information, and knowledge. It also recognizes that the impacts of climate change can exacerbate existing gender inequalities. The Gender Policy acknowledges that climate change initiatives are more sustainable, equitable and more likely to achieve their objectives when gender equality and women’s empowerment considerations are integrated into the design and implementation of projects.
Bioiversity International Alliance y CIAT: Gender Inclusion is among the six key areas of focus. Through research and work on the ground they are mainstreaming gender, and fostering equitable, socially inclusive food systems and landscapes.
The Coordinadora de Mujeres Líderes Territoriales de Mesoamérica (CMLTM), was created within the framework of the Alianza Mesoamericana de Pueblos y Bosques (AMBP). It has presence in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. The purpose is to make visible the threats and challenges faced by indigenous women to defend their territory, natural resources and culture. Likewise, they work so that women make their voices heard in the design of environmental policies linked to territorial rights, and community development.
There are several regional and national indigenous women organizations, like MIMAT in the Moskitia in Honduras, or the Coordinadora Nacional de Mujeres Indígenas de Panamá. There are also a number of women enterprises at the local and community level that lead projects on tourism in a small scale, organic agriculture and food security, among others.
Learn more about Coordinadora de Mujeres Líderes Territoriales de Mesoamérica
WCS Programs in Mesoamerica and Caribbean
WCS Mesoamerica & Western Caribbean: This is a Wildlife Conservation Society program that serves the Mesoamerican and Caribbean region. It has specific programs in Guatemala, Honduras-Nicaragua, Belize and Cuba, as well as projects in Mexico, Panama and Costa Rica. WCS is uniquely positioned to take on the objectives of the 5 Great Forests of Mesoamerica initiative. With sophisticated science; field work; a track record of more than two decades of effective and reliable partnerships with governments, local communities and indigenous groups in Mesoamerica; it has demonstrated success in the region, including the recovery of 140,000 hectares in Guatemala's Maya Biosphere Reserve.
Learn more about WCS Mesoamerica & Western Caribbean
WCS Belize holds over 40 years of experience providing technical and scientific support for marine and terrestrial conservation. Our work includes supporting the establishment of the country's first marine protected areas (MPAs) – Half Moon Caye Natural Monument (1982) and Hol Chan Marine Reserve (1987) – as well as the first and only jaguar reserve in Mesoamerica, Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary (1986). WCS has several signature areas of work in Belize, including the fisheries rights-based Managed Access program, the national rollout of the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) for enforcement in all protected areas, long-term ecological monitoring for fisheries, and activities with the government to counter wildlife trafficking.
Understanding the need to maintain biological connectivity, WCS-Belize is actively managing over 12,000 ha of forest, the heart of the Maya Forest Corridor (MFC). The MFC is the last forested biological corridor connecting the Maya Mountains Massif to the northern block of protected areas in Belize and the forests of the Selva Maya in neighbouring Guatemala and Mexico. The rural communities within and buffering the MFC are natural-resource dependent; their livelihoods are closely linked to the goods and services of the natural ecosystems within the corridor. The deforestation of natural habitats for mechanized monocrop is compromising the MFC’s resiliency to climate change and reducing the adaptation capacity of local communities. Working with local communities to improve their livelihoods, gives hope for the proper management of this critical link connecting the last remaining blocks of forests in Mesoamerica.
Being one of the longest-running programs of the region, Belize's team has expanded their research and implementation of methods and now shares their expertise to improve the conservation of terrestrial and marine conservation across the region.
Learn more about WCS Belize
WCS Guatemala is partnering with local organizations and the government to integrate conservation and development in the Maya Biosphere Reserve (MBR). Over the last 20 years we have developed innovative approaches to improve local governance of natural and cultural resources and resist destructive practices. We have supported the efforts of local people to manage their forests, which has reduced the threats of deforestation and fire, and ensured that the habitat for jaguars and scarlet macaws, and a host of other magnificent species, remains intact.
WCS has a 10-year vision for the eastern MBR: Forested parks teeming with wildlife, and effectively managed protected areas and forest concessions where fire is controlled and resource extraction is legal and sustainable.
To achieve this vision, we hold ourselves accountable for:
- 90% of the intact eastern MBR protected and managed (more than 3,300 square miles);
- The eastern MBR a stronghold for jaguars, with a stable and ecologically functional population across the landscape;
- Scarlet macaw breeding areas are protected and the population demographically robust.
Jaguars and scarlet macaws range widely, rely on different parts of the forest, and
are put in jeopardy by the most acute and widespread threats to the region. They are symbols of the forest and their conservation is a measure of our success. By maintaining the habitat for jaguars and scarlet macaws, we ensure the conservation of thousands of other forest dependent species.
To maintain that habitat, our focus must be threefold: ensuring that protected areas are effectively managed by government and other stakeholders; providing training and support so that communities are positioned to manage their forest concessions; and tracking the species and landscape trends that indicate success or need for adaptive management. Our conservation objectives will be met when a key set of management programs and circumstances are in place:
- Local management of community forest concessions reduces forest fires and illegal colonization, with 90% of concession areas free of fire, deforestation and illegal colonization;
- Protected areas of the eastern MBR are well managed by government and NGO partners, with intact forest cover free of fire and colonization;
- Trends in habitat and key landscape species are used by government and national institutions to improve the adaptive management of the eastern MBR landscape, as measured by abundance of wildlife and government resource allocation in the reserve.
Learn more about WCS Guatemala
WCS Honduras & Nicaragua
The bi-national WCS Honduras-Nicaragua program was created in 2018 and is the only bi-national program in the Mesoamerican region. The Mission of the program is to conserve La Moskitia forests of Honduras and Nicaragua. Through science, conservation and law enforcement actions and strengthening the livelihoods of indigenous and rural communities living in these forests; as well as technical and logistical assistance to the authorities in charge of Protected Areas management and environmental law enforcement.
To accomplish this mission, WCS in Honduras has focused in recent years on strengthening collaboration with the Institute of Forest Conservation, Protected Areas and Wildlife (ICF), with the Miskito Indigenous Territorial Councils where WCS has a presence, and with other Honduran government law enforcement agencies; through a "more boots on the ground" strategy to improve governance in the territories of the Moskitia, establish the rule of law and achieve better management of Forest Resources and Biodiversity at the Landscape Level.
We promote sustainable economic alternatives to extensive cattle ranching in protected areas, which is the main responsible for deforestation in the Moskitia; such as agroforestry systems, especially with Cocoa under shade, as well as other farm management techniques to generate income for indigenous communities.
In Nicaragua we have been collaborating with the Territorial Governments of the Upper Wangki for more than a decade, supporting them in agroforestry activities as well as in activities to protect their territories, in coordination with the national authorities; and in parallel we have developed scientific research on birds and mammals to document the conservation status of these species and the measurement of indicators of success of our conservation projects.
Learn more about WCS Honduras-Nicaragua