At the end of the 1980s, as a period of severe conflict in Central America was winding down, most countries in the isthmus signed the Charter Agreement for the Protection of the Environment, which established a sustainable development commission. At the same time, the “Central American Protected Areas System (SICAP) created approximately 11.5 million hectares of protected areas throughout the region” [Dettman 2006: 18].
This paved the way for international attention and investment in what became the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor (MBC). The original intention was to promote biodiversity and economic development in tandem through investment in local projects. However, in the 2000s, the international coordinators of the MBC shifted the focus from biodiversity protection (although the establishment of ecological corridors remains an objective) to a greater emphasis on economic development. This author explains that the institution’s decision-making process is overly top-down, and would benefit from input from local people who are implementing projects on the ground.
Dettman, Stephen, 2006, The Mesoamerican Biological Corridor in Panama and Costa Rica: Integrating bioregional planning and local Initiatives, Journal of Sustainable Forestry 22(1/2), https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1300/J091v22n01_02.