- This is a recognition of the effort to guarantee the standards for effectiveness and management of natural resources.
- The Cocos Island National Park will be part of a network of worldwide marine protected areas that will seek to inspire similar initiatives.
- Only 16 marine protected areas in the world have received this recognition.
Cocos Island National Park (CINP) received the “Blue Park” award for being a Global Ocean Refuge. It was classified in the Gold category by the Marine Conservation Institute, which encourages Marine Protected Areas that meet specific effectiveness and management standards.
CINP was nominated in July this year in a joint effort among the Government of the Republic, Friends of Cocos Island (Faico), and Minae-Sinac, through the Cocos Marine Conservation Area (ACMC).
“This is recognition of the efforts our country has made historically to protect biodiversity, and it motivates us to strengthen the work done for the oceans, one of the biggest challenges we have. This is the result of the legacy of those that were here before our time and made visionary decisions that place us as an example for the world,” said President of the Republic, Carlos Alvarado.
“For Costa Rica it is an honor to have a Blue Park and that our treasured Cocos Island is part of this network of marine protected areas, recognized globally. This award represents a very important achievement in conservation and is the result of public-private partnerships for preserving the environment and making sustainable use of our natural resources,” said Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, Minister of Environment and Energy (MINAE).
An international scientific committee, based on an evaluation report and expert feedback, was in charge of the award given to Cocos Island National Park. Experts concluded that CINP effectively protects its natural wealth and manages an area of high importance for global marine biodiversity. Furthermore, it recognizes the effort being made to enforce regulations in this marine protected area.
“This recognition strengthens the commitment and motivation of the officials of Cocos Island National Park as a result of successful management, hand in hand with our natural partner, Faico. It also represents continuous work, in maintaining our effectiveness and continuing to improve it,” said Gina Cuza, Regional Director a.i. of the Cocos Marine Conservation Area.
“For 25 years, Faico has promoted initiatives and projects that have contributed to achieving international recognitions as prestigious as “Blue Park”; obtaining this award is the result of this. We are proud for getting this distinction today, which also challenges us to continue adding partners for the conservation of the natural wealth that Cocos Island National Park represents,” said Alejandra Villalobos, Executive Director of Faico.
“Blue parks like Cocos Island National Park are the antidotes to threats to life in our oceans,” said Dr. Sarah Hameed, Senior Scientist at the Institute for Marine Conservation. “We may not be able to stop the impacts of climate change right away, but today we can create or maintain strong protected areas in the right places that will allow ecosystems to build or maintain resilience for the future. That is the goal of every Blue Park.”
Due to its biogeographic position and its status as an oceanic island, Cocos Island National Park represents a true natural laboratory of singular and irreplaceable universal value, constituting a symbol of marine conservation and a representative sample of what the world’s tropical oceans were like 200 years ago or more.
Its size, isolation, and state of conservation also make it a unique and ideal site for long-term research on the evolution of species and monitoring of the environment.
Having the capacity and adequate resources to effectively enforce the conservation of Cocos Island National Park will be one of the main criteria for the International Scientific Committee to verify every 5 years that the Blue Park category is maintained.