The International Cooperation (IC) Unit promotes the mission of exchanging knowledge critical to the sustainability of tropical ecosystems through development, training, and technical assistance programs throughout Central and South America, the Caribbean, and other parts of the world. Project topics include forest, park, and protected area management; environmental education and interpretation; sustainable nature-based tourism; long-term forest monitoring; and environmental and biological assessments. Staff members regularly participate in technical assistance and training for the development and implementation of international activities.
- Provided a grant to the International Society of Tropical Foresters [www.istf-bethesda.org] for production and worldwide distribution of a newsletter.
- Participated in the CAFTA-DR regional meeting in Washington, DC, with USAID, U.S. Department of State, other Federal agencies, and CAFTA-DR Focal Points from all CAFTA-DR countries. Also, IC staff participated in an International Migratory Bird Act activity in Washington, DC, with partners from throughout the region.
- Participated in the Mesoamerican Society for Biology and Conservation at their annual conference held in San Jose, Costa Rica. International Cooperation sponsored the environmental communications pre-conference workshop and a photo/film festival–"MesoAmerica Es..."–during the conference, and a seminar on biological corridor management in Mesoamerica, where several technical presentations were made from throughout the region.
- Organized the Fifteenth Caribbean Foresters Meeting, held June 14–18 in Guadeloupe, and compiled and edited the Proceedings of the Fifteenth Meeting of Caribbean Foresters.
- The non-governmental organization Paso Pacífico was invited for the second consecutive year to participate in the Clinton Global Initiative.
- International Cooperation provided technical assistance and guidance to the Academy for Educational Development to set up management of a sustainable tourism project in Nicaragua. The Academy asked advice on local talent, staffing, technical needs for specific communities and/or protected areas, etc.
- International Cooperation provided technical assistance to local partners to establish eco-consulting businesses to serve conservation non-governmental organizations and development projects in Protected Area buffers zones that would provide benefits to economically disadvantaged Hispanic community members.
Dominican Republic Activities
- Provided technical assistance to underserved, disadvantaged Hispanic local communities and non-governmental organizations to encourage economic benefits by helping to establish eco-businesses in protected areas and their buffer zones in La Caleta Marine National Park, Laguna Bávaro Wildlife Refuge, Samaná Bay, and local communities in Jarabacoa (Sonido de Yaque) and Constanza (Salto Aguas Blancas).
- Designed environmentally friendly souvenir products to promote biodiversity conservation and to encourage economic benefits for local underserved Hispanic communities and non-governmental organizations to sell in gift shops and at major hotels. More than 25 products were designed, including logos, keychain fobs, posters, post cards, t–shirts, caps, coffee mugs, and bird guides.
In coordination with the Institute’s Wildlife Unit, we continued with our technical assistance and technology transfer to Nicaragua with support to long-term biomonitoring, sustainable tourism development, and sampling for mercury and other of persistent toxic substances in shade coffee and cloud forest within the Mombacho Volcano Natural Reserve (Granada, Nicaragua). Our primary partners in Nicaragua were the Ministry of Environment and non-governmental organizations CLUSA, Paso Pacífico, and Fundación Cocibolca. Long-term plots were measured in agroforestry systems under five land uses (secondary and riparian forests, forest fallow, coffee plantations, and ’open lands’, e.g., grasslands and pasturelands with scattered trees) in the northern highlands and the same above-cited agroforestry systems, with the exception of coffee plantations, in southern coastal areas within the Paso del Istmo biological corridor. Several manuscripts, technical reports, and presentations were generated from this work.
Other significant accomplishments in Nicaragua from IC and our international partners included:
International Cooperation completed a 2-year agreement with USAID/Dominican Republic and signed a new agreement to continue to provide leadership, mentorship, and technology transfer to Dominican Republic (DR) partners in biodiversity conservation and sustainable tourism activities in local, underserved and disadvantaged Hispanic communities, and tourism clusters, in coordination with the Dominican Sustainable Tourism Alliance and the Dominican Consortium for Tourism Development (Consorcio Dominicano de Competitividad Turística). The Institute also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism to strengthen cooperation over the next few years.
The primary focus in the Dominican Republic was to assist Dominican Republic tourism clusters with biodiversity conservation and sustainable tourism development, through on-the-ground technical assistance and training programs. The following activities were undertaken:
Completed seven technical reports to help provide for conservation of biodiversity in protected areas and buffer zones, including:
- Análisis de Sitio y Recomendaciones para el Desarrollo Ecoturístico del Sendero Padre Nuestro, Parque Nacional del Este, Bayahibe, República Dominicana.
- Plan de Señalización del Parque Nacional del Este, Bayahibe, República Dominicana.
- Taller sobre Diseño, Construcción y Mantenimiento de Senderos, Parque Nacional del Este Sendero Padre Nuestro, República Dominicana.
- Taller sobre Diseño, Construcción y Mantenimiento de Senderos, Parque Nacional Valle Nuevo, Salto Aguas Blancas, República Dominicana.
- Recomendaciones para Senderos de Observación de Aves en Dos Parques Urbanos en la República Dominicana.
- Recomendaciones para Turismo y Conservación de Biodiversidad en el Refugio de Vida Silvestre de Laguna Bávaro, República Dominicana.
- Desarrollo de Turismo de Kayak en Laguna Bávaro, Punta Cana, República Dominicana.
IITF Contact: Gerald Bauer, email@example.com