The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Programme for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) held a consultation for Central America in Guatemala City, Guatemala on Thursday, 3 December and Friday, 4 December as part of a regional initiative entitled “Biodiversity and Ecosystems: Why these are Important for Sustained Growth and Equity in Latin America and the Caribbean” (the Initiative) to prepare a report on the role of biodiversity in wealth generation and support of wellbeing in the region. The first consultation was held in Mexico City from 13-14 August, the second in Lima, Peru from 24-25 September, the third in Caracas, Venezuela from 4-5 November, the fourth in Quito, Ecuador from 24-25 November, and the fifth in Bogota, Colombia from 30 November – 1 December. Others are scheduled for Brasilia, Brazil and Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago (for the Caribbean), in January 2010. Each seeks the inputs of national experts and stakeholders.
The Central American consultation included participants from Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama representing: government entities; regional organizations; conservation groups; the academic and indigenous communities; a bioproduct producer and a private sector ecotourism project. On Thursday, participants heard morning plenary presentations on the Initiative and the regional report, and in the afternoon they broke out into four working groups to discuss emblematic policies in Central American nations, identify key sectors for promoting investment in biodiversity and ecosystem services and any existing barriers to such investments. Deliberations resumed on Friday with participants convening in working groups to first discuss insights from case studies from Paraguay and Indonesia, and then to recommend inputs to the regional report on principal arguments to use, ways to convince decision-makers and dissemination strategies. In the final plenary participants recommended key messages and ways to enrich the regional Initiative.