The National Strategy on Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity was formulated in the context of the commitments made by Costa Rica in signing and ratifying the "Convention on Biological Diversity" at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, and specifically in relation to Article 61 of this Convention.
In addition to complying with the stipulations contained in this Article, and developing an intersectorial guide for the management of biodiversity, in Costa Ricas case, the process of formulating the Strategy was also seen as an opportunity to analyze the countrys advances in relation to the fulfillment of this Convention, and to update the existing information on the countrys biodiversity, to make it available for decision-making. This first phase, the diagnosis or assessment, was launched in January of 1997.
The second phase, corresponding to a consultative process, began in June of 1998, and sought to achieve consensus and unite efforts for the formulation of the Strategy. Although the drafting of this document is an important result, the actual process of information, consultation and analysis of different positions, will undoubtedly be regarded as having the greatest impact on the management of biodiversity resources.
A total of 957 participants were involved in the process (Table 1): 642 participated in the first phase, in the different regions of the country that form part of the Conservation Areas; 180 in the second phase, relating to specific themes, and 135 in the third phase, relating to the national proposal that incorporates the results of the regional and technical consultations, as well as the plan of action. The following groups participated in the process: representatives of the Government, local NGO, academia, national NGO, local committees, local governments, private enterprise, projects, development associations, business associations, international organizations, animal rescue centers (zoos), national commissions and cooperatives (Table 2).
As part of the formulation and review process prior to its official release, the draft document was made available for final consultation during the month of October on the Ministry of the Environment and Energys Web page (http: www.minae.go.cr/estrategia/estrategia).
This initiative was led by the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) of the Ministry of the Environment and Energy (MINAE), with technical support from the National Institute for Biodiversity (INBio), and the financial support of the Global Environment Fund (GEF), through the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), SINAC and INBio. The Advisory Commission on Biodiversity (COABIO) fulfilled an advisory role, a task that was taken up in March 1999 by the National Commission on Biodiversity Management (CONAGEBIO) following its establishment.
The first part of this summary presents a diagnosis, focusing particularly on the problems that this analysis sought to address, the second part corresponds to the strategic framework and the action plan.