Environmental management plans delayed

While Panama continues to wait for practical models to fight climate change, several of Panama’s protected areas lack management plans. These models are essential for protecting Panama’s natural attractions.

Panama is full of wildlife and the untouched jungle these animals need to thrive, in order to keep it this way the country must work towards creating guidelines. 

On Monday a forum called “Challenges and Opportunities from Climate Change,” took place in Panama. The event was attended by the environment minister along with representatives of the International Center for Sustainable Development, the Panama Canal and the Development Bank of Latin America-CAF.

“There are 121 protected areas in the country and only 23 have a management plan. We have to fix this delay, which is partly due to the existing regulations that keep us from getting the job done at the necessary speed,” said Environment Minister Emilio Sempris said on Monday, during the forum. 

“We’re planning to sign an agreement with the National Park Sovereignty to try to get people closer to the woods. That will send a clear message that Panama is fighting climate change on a practical level,” he said.

He also noted that conservation areas occupy more than 40 percent of the national territory, three times more than the world average of 12 percent.

Sempris said the Environment Ministry seeks to use a system like Japan’s as a model, where protected areas are major tourist attractions. 

Working towards the implantation of a system that uses tourist dollars to protect and create pride towards the national parks, the ministry eliminated entrance fees Last December. In 2018 entrance to national parks and camping permits in national parks Santa Fe National Park, Chagres National Park, Camino de Cruces National Park, Darien National Park, Baru Volcano National Park and La Amistad International Park are free. 

While this step works towards boosting ecotourism, and a building a greater love for the outdoors, it is necessary to put into effect a management plan that offers tactics for reducing the impact tourism has, and takes in to account the unique challenges that ecosystem is facing.