• Faico’s collaboration model has enabled projects and contributions to be made that support effective management and the work of park rangers

Conserving and protecting Cocos Island represents an enormous task for the Government of Costa Rica. With its designation as National Park and thanks to the leadership of former President of the Republic, Rodrigo Carazo Odio, the need of having an unconditional partner was determined. For this reason, in 1994, he created Friends of Cocos Island Foundation (Faico), with the commitment to join efforts to protect this natural treasure.

FAICO’s efforts have focused on the improvement of Cocos Island, allowing the strengthening of control and surveillance actions, research, sustainable tourism, awareness raising, and capacity building, among others, through an Official Cooperation Agreement with the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) and the Cocos Marine Conservation Area (ACMC).

Through unprecedented processes and partnerships, Faico has created close and successful relationships with strategic partners such as the Government of Costa Rica, local and international non-governmental organizations, the private sector, and civil society, becoming a replicable model of strategic partnership that inspires marine conservation globally.

“The wealth in marine-terrestrial biodiversity and its unique characteristics of an oceanic island must be safeguarded without leaving aside any kind of effort, thus becoming a challenge of a local, regional, and global nature,” said Alejandra Villalobos, Executive Director of Faico.

As a result of teamwork with countless actors and partners, important projects have been promoted, such as the construction of the Villa “Her Majesty Queen Beatrix” and the “Rodrigo Carazo Odio” Housing Complex, both for park rangers, researchers, and volunteers.

Likewise, it has funded research projects on sharks, donating several boats, which together with the development and constant execution of initiatives aimed at the quality of life of park rangers, equipment, communications, and capacity building mark a very important guideline every day in the island.

Other relevant efforts have been to help obtain the declaration of Cocos Island as a Natural World Heritage Site (UNESCO 1997), and more recently, the preparation of the Prevention, Protection, and Control Plan of the Cocos Marine Conservation Area.  In addition, we are supporting the proposal for expansion of Cocos Island National Park.

FAICO hopes that these efforts can be a model for marine conservation in other parts of the world. It is our commitment to raise awareness in Costa Rica and in the rest of the world, that even from a distant place on the continent, it is essential to protect marine resources, based on solid scientific facts.

The development and implementation of a new strategy allows us to undertake new challenges. We will continue striving to generate a significant impact in favor of Cocos Island and marine conservation.