Panama ratified its commitment to safeguard its marine protected areas

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Panama ratified its commitment to safeguard its marine protected areas
Source: ATP
Wed June 09, 2021

The Central American country anticipates the agreed date nine years to comply with the 30 × 30 global climate initiative, which seeks to expand the protection of marine areas by 30% before the year 2030


The President of the Republic, Laurentino Cortizo Cohen, signed in the Yellow Room of the Presidency the executive decree that expands the limits of the protected area "Area of ​​Managed Resources Cordillera de Coiba (ARMCC)", and with which the commitment of the country in safeguarding marine protected areas.

The country increased its protected marine area by 30% with some degree of management to comply with the global 30 × 30 initiative, of which it is a part, nine years before the stipulated date. 

Cortizo Cohen stated that the signing of this executive decree is an important step to protect biodiversity, the natural heritage of our country and for the conservation of the environment at a global level.

He highlighted that with this 30% coverage, Panama is positioned "as the new blue world leader", a distinction awarded to countries that achieve the goal of the 30 × 30 initiative before the year 2030.

With this declaration, Panama achieves some degree of protection for 98,228.25 km2 of the national marine surface, explained the President of the Republic.

Likewise, he stressed that this "triumph" should make all Panamanians proud because this declaration is not only for the benefit of Panama, but for the entire world.

At the event, President Cortizo Cohen promised that his government will continue to promote joint work between countries, with firm actions for the benefit of marine life and the sustainability of the resources of the sea, as well as the protection of the environment.

The 30 × 30 initiative has its origins in scientific studies that indicate that the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate action will only be achieved if 30% of the land area and oceans are protected.  

John Kerry, United States special envoy for the climate, through a video congratulated President Cortizo Cohen and the Panamanian people for the declaration of expanding the protection of the Coiba Range. 

“Congratulations to Panama for helping chart the path to a healthier ocean, a healthier planet, and healthier people. I was very pleased to hear about their work, reserving most of the Cordillera de Coiba as a no-exploitation zone, free from destructive and extractive activities, offering species and ecosystems the opportunity to rejuvenate and recover, ”said Kerry. .

He also highlighted that the Cordillera de Coiba, an underwater mountain range, is a true marine treasure and is a key piece of the seascape of the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean. "It is home to an incredible diversity of marine life and species in the United States," added Kerry.  

The United States special envoy for climate stressed that the problem related to the climate crisis cannot be solved without taking care of the ocean and the problems of the ocean cannot be solved without taking care of the climate crisis.     

Milciades Concepción, Minister of the Environment, explained that given the worldwide desire to increase marine protected areas and exceed 30% of the territory, the institution spoke with national scientists and analyzed the opportunity to reach the goal of expanding said protected area of the Cordillera de Coiba, by taking advantage of the neighborhood with Malpelo, in Colombia, and forming an underwater mountain chain with the Galapagos, in Ecuador; and Cocos, in Costa Rica.

“Chile and Panama are the only countries in America that achieve this goal. Panama is the first to do so under the 30 × 30 initiative, ”added Concepción. 

The Cordillera de Coiba Managed Resources Area (ARMCC), located in the exclusive economic zone of the Pacific, is a protected area since September 2015 that until today had an extension of 17,223.52 km2, it is a chain of underwater mountains, considered formations Exceptional geological sites with high biodiversity, essential for the health of ecosystems, repopulation of local and migratory species, as well as the long-term sustainability of resources, and the conservation of endangered species such as sea turtles, cetaceans and sharks. 

The Ministry of the Environment, in consensus with the Panama Aquatic Resources Authority (ARAP), the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), in charge of the scientific studies, carried out two processes of planning to consolidate the area, Minister Concepción explained.

With the expansion of the ARMCC in 67,908.98 km2, the total marine area of ​​the Republic of Panama, which currently has approximately 47,542.79 km2 with some degree of management, will increase to 98,228.25 km2. 

Upon completion of this expansion, the connectivity of the Marine Corridor of the Eastern Tropical Pacific (CMAR) and the binational management of neighboring protected areas of Panama and Colombia will be strengthened; This implies the consolidation of the concept of “migration routes” and the efforts to protect the marine ecosystem of this Corridor, when combined with the protected areas of the Yuruparí-Malpelo Integrated Management District and the Malpelo Fauna and Flora Sanctuary, in Colombia. 

José Gabriel Carrizo Jaén, Vice President of the Republic and Minister of the Presidency; Erika Mouynes, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Milciades Concepción, Minister of the Environment; Stewart Tuttle, Charge d'Affaires of the United States Embassy; representatives of international organizations, foundations and NGOs for environmental matters.

Also present were Flor Torrijos, administrator of the ARAP; Iván Eskildsen, general administrator of the Panama Tourism Authority (ATP); and Noriel Araúz, administrator of the AMP.

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