Project Support for the Monitoring of Biodiversity and Climate Change

Support for the Monitoring of Biodiversity
and Climate Change

The Project


The environmental governance of the Selva Maya region is weak, which is closely related to its transboundary situation. To develop efficient mechanisms for conservation and climate change adaptation in the region, and to foster support at the political level, reliable monitoring data is required on a regular basis and in comparable fashion at regional scale.
There is already a wealth of monitoring data collected by a variety of organizations, yet these tend to have a limited geographic focus, lack continuity and leave many gaps. In addition, few results are freely available and widely communicated to decision-makers and the public. Exchange, coordination and collaboration at the regional level are scarce.


In order to contribute to the strengthening of regional governance, since August 2016 the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ, German Cooperation for Sustainable Development), commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), jointly with the Central American Commission on Environment and Development (CCAD), implements the regional project Support for monitoring of biodiversity and climate change in the Selva Maya. The project works closely with the NGO Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), which has been spearheading the monitoring of biodiversity in Guatemala since 1992.


The overarching goal of the project is that results of regionally coordinated biodiversity and climate change monitoring in the Selva Maya region are channelled into policy-making to a greater extent.


The regional lead executing agency is the Central American Commission on Environment and Development (CCAD). National counterparts are the Forest Department (FD) in Belize, the Guatemalan National Council of Protected Areas (CONAP) and the National Comission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (CONABIO) in Mexico. In addition, the Mexican National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) is a strategic ally.


To reach its objective, the project focuses on four axes:

  1. Improve the political and institutional framework for regional cooperation on biodiversity and climate change monitoring.
  2. Strengthen the capacities of the relevant stakeholders and the regional exchange of experience of biodiversity and climate change monitoring.
  3. Implement regionally oriented pilot monitoring and contribute to improved cooperation between local key stakeholders.
  4. Foster the making use of relevant monitoring information in the Selva Maya region.

Traditional biodiversity monitoring (e.g. frequency of species, extension of habitat types) is limited where monitoring is to provide critical data on biodiversity and climate change in an effective and timely manner to decision makers. Therefore, the ‘Pressure-State-Benefit-Response’ (PSBR) framework is applied in the project. This framework includes a broader range of indicators such as threats, management and governance measures towards ensuring sustainable use and conservation of natural resources and environmental services.
A key point for the project is to increase the accessibility of existing data, as well as the communication of monitoring results to different audiences.


Some of the impacts achieved through the Project are:

  • Following the implementation of the SMART tool, capacities for control, surveillance and monitoring of biodiversity have been strengthened in five Protected Areas in Belize, thirteen in Mexico and one in Guatemala.
  • In the framework of monitoring of water bodies and associated fauna, data accessibility and management has been increased in one Protected Area in Belize, four in Mexico and five in Guatemala; this has been done through institutional alliances and joint monitoring platforms of 20 public and private organizations in the three countries.
  • Citizen participation and political advocacy by local institutions has been strengthened about water quality monitoring in the basins of the Peten-Itza Lake in Guatemala and the Bacalar’ Lagoon in Mexico.
  • There is scientific information from 52 permanent monitoring plots (PPMs), which supports the sustainable management and administration that forest concessions carry out in the forests of Petén, Guatemala. In addition, one PPM has been re-sampled in Belize.
  • With air quality monitoring data, in Belize it has been possible to put pressure on the municipalities to prohibit fires near the communities; in Guatemala a partnership has been established between the municipality of San Benito and the citizens to make more informed decisions about waste and solid waste management.
  • Technical capacities have been improved for the detection and monitoring of threats such as forest fires and changes in vegetation cover, allowing for their timely attention in Belize; Petén, Guatemala and four Natural Protected Areas in Mexico.


Selva Maya Programme

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
4ª. Calle 6-55 zona 9
01009 Ciudad de Guatemala

T +502 2312-2100
E [email protected]