On Thursday, January 20, the 28th General Assembly of FAICO Sponsors was held. The meeting had in-person and virtual participation of assembly members and of members of the Cocos Marine Conservation Area (ACMC).

During the assembly, members of the Administrative Board and administrative staff of FAICO presented a summary of achievements for 2021.

In the assembly, the members of the Administrative Board of FAICO highlighted that despite COVID-19, work has been maintained and thanks to the partnerships, it has been possible to develop other key projects, consolidating FAICO as a role model on marine conservation.

During 2021, the work route was marked by five pillars:

1. Consolidation of FAICO’s governance

During the 28 years of existence of FAICO, the Costa Rican government recognized its contribution to Cocos Island on three occasions. In addition, FAICO remained active on the ACMC expansion process, along with another series of projects, stressing its commitment to marine conservation.

2. Capacity building

  • During 2021, FAICO increased its operational capacities, promoting the growth of employees in fields related to conservation and political advocacy.
  • As part of the work, an expedition to CINP was carried out in February 2021, to promote cooperation for the strengthening of marine areas.
  • Additionally, actions were carried out to disclose the importance of expanding marine protected areas based on the campaign called “A Blue World to Protect”. This campaign consolidated the position of spokespersons of the Cocos Marine Conservation Area (ACMC) and of FAICO among public opinion.

3. Improvements in fundraising capacity 

FAICO’s management in recent years has allowed the execution of innovative projects and comprehensive support for the expansion process of Marine Protected Areas around the ACMC and other permanent investment needs. This has been possible for many years thanks to the support and strategic partnerships with organizations such as Oceans 5, MarViva, Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, Pristine Seas-National Geographic, Wyss Foundation, Waitt Foundation, US Embassy, Blue Action Fund, Blue Nature Alliance, and Conservation International.

4. Promotion of the representativeness and effectiveness of the management of Cocos Island, Seamounts, and the Eastern Tropical Pacific

  • After five years of work, on December 17, 2021, the President of the Republic, Mr. Carlos Alvarado Quesada, together with the Minister of Environment and Energy, Mrs. Andrea Meza Murillo, signed the executive decree that expands the MPAs in the Cocos Marine Conservation Area. CINP passed from 2,034 km2 to cover 54,844 km2 of absolute protection. In other words, Cocos Island National Park (CINP) is now 27 times larger, and it includes 9,649 km2 previously covered by the AMM-MS. In addition, the new Bicentennial Marine Management Area (AMMB) was created, consisting of 106,285 km2 of mixed use. In total, the ACMC passed from 11,683 km2 to 159,294km2, an area that represents more than 3 times the size of continental Costa Rica and 31% of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Pacific.
  • Additionally, FAICO maintained its support in vital projects for the administration of the ACMC, among which the following stand out:
    • Installation of a mooring system for large vessels.
    • Microplastic management in marine and freshwater environments at CINP in partnership with Universidad Nacional.
    • Contributions of equipment and supplies for the “Quality of Life of Park Rangers” program.
    • Support the maintenance of infrastructure and equipment.
    • Ecological restoration of the CINP vegetation.
    • Environmental Education Products.

5. To consolidate partnerships in favor of Cocos Island, the Seamounts, and the Eastern Tropical Pacific.

Faico has carried out a series of activities with the main objective of consolidating partnerships in favor of Cocos Island, the Seamounts, and the Eastern Tropical Pacific, as follows:

    • Association for Education and Marine Conservation (SINAC, EPA, ALIARSE)
    • Participation in the first Marine Education Meeting in Latin America and the Caribbean, RELATO
    • World Oceans Day Forum (Enric Sala, Christiana Figueres & Andrea Meza)
    • Celebration of the Bicentennial in the country (ACMC recognizes FAICO)
    • Beach cleaning in Puntarenas (SC Johnson de Centroamérica S.A.)

During the assembly, the commitment of Friends of Cocos Island and its collaborators was ratified to continue working shoulder to shoulder to take care of Cocos Island, promote research, and provide support after the signing of the decree to expand marine areas as part of the 30×30 goal.

Likewise, within the framework of the assembly, the Administrative Board recognized the Executive Director, Mrs. Alejandra Villalobos Madrigal, for her years of experience and contributions made in the expansion of the ACMC, through the delivery of the “Medal of Merit, Cocos Island, World Heritage Site”.

“FAICO visualizes 2022 as a year of hard work to enhance the protection of a new marine area three times the size of Costa Rica.  We have already taken a huge step by consolidating the protection of more than 30% of our oceans; now, we must continue joining efforts to save the ocean from the threats that deteriorate it”, said the Chairman of FAICO, Carlos Manuel Uribe.

If you want to know more about the work of FAICO, Friends of Cocos Island Foundation, and if you wish to join us in the protection of Cocos Island, enter www.cocosisland.org or write to info@cocosisland.org