Multi-sectoral coastal and marine management vision

Published: 10 November 2015
Last edited: 09 July 2019
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This solution uses scientific information to prioritize sites of importance for conservation that are vulnerable to climate change on the northern Pacific coast of Costa Rica. A consultative process with participation by residents, fishermen, and local and regional authorities, builds a shared vision for sustainable management of coastal and marine resources. Dialogue platforms establish geographical areas, the governance model and management rules.


Central America
Scale of implementation
Coral reef
Freshwater ecosystems
Marine and coastal ecosystems
Rocky reef / Rocky shore
Wetland (swamp, marsh, peatland)
Coastal and marine spatial management
Protected area governance
Loss of Biodiversity
Unsustainable harvesting incl. Overfishing
Pollution (incl. eutrophication and litter)
Lack of public and decision maker’s awareness
Poor monitoring and enforcement
Poor governance and participation


Costa Rica


  • Lack of stakeholder engagement
  • Unsustainable use of natural resources
  • Analysis needed to identify gaps in existing biological conservation approaches and sites of conservation importance that are representative of critical areas
  • Communities and ecosystems are vulnerable to climate change impacts
  • Improve the governance of coastal and marine environments
  • Develop participatory processes that include the local residents’ interests


  • Local communities that depend on healthy coastal ecosystems for their livelihoods
  • National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC)
  • Tempisque Conservation Area
  • Costa Rican Institute of Aquaculture and Fisheries (INCOPESCA)

How do the building blocks interact?

The building blocks interact as a step by step process to provide a solution to the general problem of in-governability of seascapes. The first step has to be the identification and prioritization of the seascapes that have to be included in a marine protected area system. This technical scientific information is needed to make proper informed decisions. With the sites of importance for conservation the authorities and users have to be identified and invited to build up a negotiation platform. Once this is done, disharmonies among the stakeholders have to be reduced. This is accomplished through a multi-sectorial dialogue platform in which stakeholders expose their requirements and hear those from others. Once the different stakeholders are negotiating and agree upon key issues it is critical to write down the agreements in order to consolidate the multi-sectorial dialogue platform. From this platform the real solution to promote a good governance of seascapes is born.


  • Improved relations between the actors and empowerment of local stakeholders.
  • Different groups have strengthened their capabilities in negotiation, organization and leadership.
  • There is increased clarity about what the local communities want and do not want in marine and coastal resources management.


My name is Dianney Chacón. I am a fisherwoman from the community of Cabuya, Nicoya Peninsula, close to the Cabo Blanco Protected Area; I've been a fisherwoman for all of my life. My husband was a fisherman all his life. I was president of the Association of Fishermen of my town and I also belong to the Group of local Women, I know how hard the life of the fisherman is when there is not enough to live. In my town most families live from fishing, but the fish is getting scarce. Every day our fishermen leave and return with less fish and smaller sizes. Same with what they take by diving, like lobster. In our town we only do freediving, but daily we have to see how the fishermen from other places come to fish in front of our town, our territory. They use compressors and take everything, even within the marine protected area of Cabo Blanco. We cannot do anything and the different authorities themselves do not respond. To our fishing areas also shrimp boats are arriving. At the end for our own people there is nothing left. We fishermen know that we must conserve marine resources and we want to create rules to fish. But we want to be part of the process to create these rules, not someone from outside to come and tell us what to do. This group (dialogue platform) is an opportunity for us. We can think, decide and agree with the local authorities, with other social organizations, tourism entrepreneurs who also want to conserve, and in this way with the help of the government improve the situation of the fisherman. It has been difficult for everyone involved to understand what we want with the process, but we managed to reach an agreement that benefits all communities. Now we need more government support from different institutions so our proposal becomes a reality.

Contributed by

Michael Schloenvoigt GIZ Costa Rica

Other contributors

GIZ Costa Rica