Institutional development

 

  As part of its work, the General Directorate of INBio coordinated a series of activities and initiatives aimed at promoting the institution’s development.
   
  The International Advisory Board
   
 

Discussion of future plans and institutional growth makes it possible to define the challenges ahead. In May of 2001, a strategic thinking session was organized, for the second time, with the International Advisory Board. This meeting provided an opportunity to exchange points of view, perspectives, experiences based on the current work and at the same time discuss the international trends and opportunities that may affect INBio’s future plans.

The results of this meeting may be divided into three large areas:

1. Identity: what INBio is at present and what it wishes to be.

a. INBio and its essential process
b. INBio’s role in the region
c. Bio-literacy
d. Formal education

2. Financing: strengthening the institution’s sustainability.

3. Communication and image: INBio’s communications and image-building strategy in the internal and external spheres.

a. Alliance between INBio and SINAC
b. Alliances with non-governmental organizations
c. Strengthening the institution’s image and leadership role

 
  Art and Nature
 

Art and Nature Program: sculpture by Josˇ Sancho.

The Costa Rican sculptor, Jose Sancho, donated 24 of his sculptures to INBio. These works are made from metal, granite, black marble, white marble and pink marble and most of them were created in Italy.

Sancho’s sculptures are on display in the gardens of INBioparque and are complemented by another of his works, entitled “Great Totem”. Although this work does not form part of the artist’s donation, it was acquired on the recommendation of national experts, who considered it important to keep the entire collection of sculptures together.

The exhibition of this collection of sculptures in INBioparque, in December of 2001, marked the inauguration of INBio’s Art and Nature Program, which received support from the following corporate sponsors: Amanco, Auto Mercado, Banco Interfin S.A., Banco San Jose, Cerveceria Costa Rica, Cormar logistica, Panamco Tica and Unilever.

 

 

  Cooperation for growth
   
 

To grow, INBio needs to obtain funds through projects and cooperation agreements. In 2001, the following initiatives were negotiated:

• “Sustainable Development of INBio”, financed by the Government of Holland.

• “Biodiversity as an instrument for development in Central America”, a project supported by the Norwegian Development Agency (NORAD).

• Joint project Bioprospecting-Bioprocesses S.A., to obtain funds from the Ministry of Science and Technology.

• Joint project Social Outreach-Bioprospecting to obtain funding from the Merck Foundation, in order to organize a training workshop on intellectual property and development of educational materials on bioprospecting.

• CRUSA Foundation, to execute the project “Protection and management of the biodiversity and natural resources of Corcovado National Park and the Isla del Caño Biological Reserve”.

Similarly, the following cooperation agreements were signed with institutions from other countries, enabling INBio to implement collaborative activities of mutual benefit.

• Inter-institutional cooperation agreement with the University of Tolima (Colombia).

• Framework agreement for collaboration between INBio, and the Secretaria Xeral de Investigation e Desenvol-vemento (General Secretariat for Research and Development) of Galicia and the Ministry of the Environment and Energy of Costa Rica.

• Letter of understanding with the National Congress and Amazonian Parliament for the province of Pastaza, Ecuador.

• Letter of intent to develop a Complementary Cooperation Agreement with the Ministry of the Environment of Ecuador.

• Framework agreement for collaboration with the Ibero-American Biodiversity Center of the University of Alicante, Spain.

Similarly, INBio consolidated its alliances with:

• The Central Volcanic Cordillera Conservation Area, considered to be of strategic importance as it is the geographic area where INBio is headquartered.

• The environmental education programs of all the country’s Conservation Areas, which in many cases constitute an entry point to numerous rural and marginal urban communities of Costa Rica.

• National Geographic Magazine, which has recently launched its “Adventure Map Costa Rica” onto the market. Through this alliance, INBio obtained the donation of a small percentage from the sales of his map to support ProEBi.

• Central American non-governmental organizations, including Salvanatura, of El Salvador; and Programme for Belize, of Belize.

In addition, the following actions are in progress:

• Transfer of industrial fractioning equipment for preparing chemical extracts, through an agreement with the CRUSA Foundation.

• Domestication of wild varieties of rice (CIBCM/Cornell).

• Industrialization of heart of palm (palmito) (ECODIRECTA).

• Alternative uses of the DMDP chemical compound with nematicidal and insecticidal properties (INBio-ECOS-CATIE).

• Biological control of cacao diseases (M&M).

  Open doors
   
 

Academics, diplomats, senior representatives of non-governmental and international organizations, managers of international and national companies, government authorities, students and the general public visited INBio to get to know it in detail with a view to future cooperation alliances.

INBio welcomed a total of 508 of such visitors, a figure 21% higher than was expected for this year.

   
  Recognition!
   
 

INBio’s activities, its process of growth and its projections towards the future were the central theme of numerous press reports published by the country’s different media organizations:

• Press: 103 reports (including nine front page articles and eight cover stories in supplements).

• Radio reports: 52

• Television reports: 53

• Presentations on the Internet: 29

A total of 93 national and foreign journalists visited INBio’s headquarters and received information about the work carried out at the Institute.

The effort to develop a good institutional image was reinforced with 18 information products, including the following:

• Four issues of the national lottery, depicting Costa Rica’s biodiversity and bearing the INBio logo.

• Leaflet on debt swap between Canada and Costa Rica.

• Work Report, Institutional Memo and leaflet with the Charter of the Association of the National Biodiversity Institute.

  For the first time
   

Dr. Guy de Teramond, former minister of Science and Technology, at the inauguration of the Atta system.

In 2001 INBio organized and implemented 15 institutional activities, including the following:

• Inauguration of three biological stations: El Pilon, in Volcan Tenorio National Park; La Esperanza de El Guarco, in the Tapanti-Macizo de la Muerte National Park; and the Barbilla Biological Station, in Barbilla National Park.

• Inauguration of an orchid exhibition module in INBioparque.

• Inauguration of the Atta Information System on biodiversity.

• First edition of the INBio Merit Prize for the Conservation of Costa Rican Biodiversity, awarded to Dr. Alexander F. Skutch.

   
  Developing competence
   
 

In order to strengthen the institution’s management capacity and leadership skills, INBio provided training to 24 of its staff members on the subject of an Aptitudes Development Plan. Five workshops and 10 support sessions were organized on topics such as interpersonal communication, creative and critical thinking, problem solving and negotiation of agreements.

As part of the institution’s plan to develop its human resources, special recognition was given to the hard work and dedication shown by 37 staff members in the performance of their tasks, with a high degree of creativity and innovation.

   
  Firm foundations
   
 

In the year 2001, an amphibian farm and a butterfly farm were established at the Rainforest Farm in Guapiles; in addition, a special area was remodeled and adapted to store INBio’s publications inventory.

The remodeled Entomology building was also inaugurated during this period. The facility has specific areas to accommodate the different Taxonomic Work Teams, as well as spaces for labeling, data input, scientific illustration and preparation of specimens. The most important aspect is the enlargement of the areas for preserving dry and wet specimen collections.

   

Dendrobates pumilio

Clean Earth
 

As a pioneer in many areas of environmental work, INBio formally undertook the task of designing its own environmental management plan, known as Tierra Limpia (Clean Earth).

The idea was to integrate all of INBio’s environmental management processes, in order to contribute to the protection of the environment. The plan includes risk management and risk prevention and efforts to improve the quality of its services.

   
  Visible quality
   
 

On July 2, 2001, the ISO 9001 Quality System was introduced into the Bioprospecting Program. This will enable the Program to seek the corresponding official accreditation in the near future.

   
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