Protection and Sustainable Use of the Selva Maya


Recognizing that one of the central challenges in the region is the protection and conservation of the Selva Maya through long-term sustainable natural resource use, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ, German Development Cooperation) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) jointly implemented with the Central American Commission on Environment and Development (CCAD) the regional program “Protection and sustainable use of the Selva Maya” since 2011: Selva Maya I: 2011-2015, Selva Maya II: 2015-2019.

The Approach


This program focuses on the protection and sustainable use of humid tropical forests, which are found in parts of Belize, Guatemala and Mexico. The program’s goal is to get key players of governments and civil society to implement concerted measures to protect and sustainably use of biodiversity and natural resources in the Selva Maya region.

The Program conducts activities in four areas:

  • Conservation of Protected areas and biodiversity
  • Land use planning, taking environmental protection into consideration
  • Sustainable income generating alternatives
  • Strengthening Environmental governance in the Selva Maya region


The official program partner at the regional level is CCAD. Nationally, the program works with the institutions responsible for the protection and conservation of protected areas, such as the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, Environment and Sustainable Development (MAFFESD) in Belize, the National Protected Areas Council (CONAP) in Guatemala and the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) in Mexico. GIZ also collaborates with NGOs and members of civil society that pursue the same objective: to contribute to the protection and sustainable management of the Selva Maya.


To date, the Selva Maya Programme has produced some concrete results:

  • Management plans and various instruments for the conservation of protected areas and biological diversity were developed or updated, such as the Forest Law and the National Protected Areas System Plan of Belize, the Management Plan for the Buffer Zone of the Maya Biosphere Reserve in Guatemala, and the visionary Development Plan for Calakmul and strategic planning for Bala’an K’aax in Mexico.
  • In the area of land use planning, capacity was strengthened in planning methods and instruments through pilot participatory Community Land Use Plans
  • To promote sustainable alternatives for increasing income the program promoted: Ramón seed and honey production through strengthening of the value chain, the establishment of productive committees and technical and institutional training, as well as sustainable agroecological and silvopastoral practices.
  • To strengthen environmental governance in the Selva Maya, the program promotes cross-border exchanges by supporting: the establishment of the Strategic Coordination Group (SCG) of the Selva Maya, made up of MAFFESD Belize, CONAP Guatemala, and CONANP Mexico, trinational park ranger exchanges and cross-border cooperation initiatives, such as between the protected areas Calakmul (MX) and Mirador/Río Azul (GT) as well as with forest fires occurring between Guatemala and Belize.



Selva Maya Program

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
1a calle y 3a avenida, zona 2
Santa Elena, Peten, Guatemala

P +502 7926-3715