Dominican Republic eyes financial mechanism to restore coral reefs
Santo Domingo.- The establishment of a financial mechanism to invest in the conservation of coral reefs in the Dominican Republic, with the support of the private sector, is the objective pursued by the Ministry of Environment and Resources Natural, the Ministry of Planning and Development, the Dominican Coastal Restoration Consortium (CDRC) and the German Development Cooperation, GIZ, with the support of the Government of Costa Rica.
“Currently, financial mechanisms have become an innovative and attractive option to promote that beneficiaries of ecosystem services contribute a payment or compensation for their use. Ecosystems how coral reefs, which constitute one of the main sources of services for Dominican tourism, can be strengthened by such mechanisms,” said Patricia Abreu, deputy minister of International Cooperation of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of the Republic Dominican
This particular mechanism will establish guidelines to give sustainability to the efforts made by the CDRC since 2017 for the restoration of coral reefs in Bayahibe, Punta Cana, Samana and more recently on other coasts of the country.
“The tourism industry in the Dominican Republic receives extensive benefits from coral reefs, for example, on white sand beaches, recreational diving, or in protecting its infrastructure against strong waves and stabilization of the coasts. That is why, involving the private sector in the restoration of these reefs makes sense not only for biodiversity, but also for the sustainability of their businesses,” said Svenja Paulino, director of the Biodiversity and Business Program in Central America and the Dominican Republic.
Currently, the work team is carrying out the last steps that will lead to a structure that supports this financial mechanism and includes the participation of the Government and the Dominican Coastal Restoration Consortium. It is expected that, in the coming months, this structure will be known and the formal operation of the mechanism will begin.
According to a study by the GIZ, in the Dominican Republic, coral reefs provide benefits estimated at more than US$1.14 billion annually on the coasts of Punta Cana, Samaná and Bayahibe, demonstrating the importance of protecting and restoring these ecosystems.
This work is possible thanks to the support provided by the German Government to the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica through the Regional Fund for Triangular Cooperation in Latin America and the Caribbean, commissioned by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented for the GIZ.
Costa Rica and Dominican Republic
Since 2017, Costa Rica, through the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) and the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC), has shared with the Dominican Republic its experience in the development of policies for the protection and sustainable management of natural resources, such as the Payment for Environmental Services (PES) scheme that the country has been implementing since 1996.
The PES structure in Costa Rica has proven to be a great contribution to the recovery of the country’s forest cover and the conservation of other linked ecosystems to the forests, which entail the reduction of emissions, the removal of carbon dioxide towards the decarbonization of the economy of Costa Rica.
“According to the country experience, government resources are not enough for the recovery of degraded reefs and for their protection. Therefore, it is imperative to create new financing mechanisms that promote greater involvement of civil society and the productive sectors in the conservation actions of these important ecosystems,” said Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, Minister of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica.