IUCN Mesoamerica has developed its Private Sector Engagement Strategy, based on the IUCN Operational Guidelines for Private Sector Engagement. From this planning exercise, IUCN Mesoamerica has decided to focus on the following objectives:
- Improve environmental management of companies with high environmental impact, especially in water resources and biodiversity. Priority sectors for this area of work in the region are: infrastructure development, agro-industry, manufacturing, tourism and traditional mass, and mining, especially in the northern countries of Central America;
- Improve the sustainability of the operations of companies that make intensive use of natural resources. In this area, priority sectors are: energy, especially hydroelectric generation and biofuel production, water bottling industry, as well as breweries, companies involved in the legal trade of wildlife and finally the forest sector, with which IUCN Mesoamerica has a long-standing track record.
- Promote and support the development of economic activities that make a sustainable use of biodiversity and generate more income for poor communities, particularly around protected areas and other areas of high importance for the conservation of biodiversity and water resources. In this sense, priority is given to facilitating access to high-value niches, in both domestic and international markets, through the certification of the environmental and social qualities of agricultural products and sustainable tourism initiatives (organic, fair trade, etc)
- Explore joint activities to improve the sustainability of enterprises productive operations, either by capacity development of key business partners, development of information materials, training and implementation of joint projects with enterprises.
- Develop work by IUCN Mesoamerica, or its members and partners on issues directly related to natural resources used by enterprises as inputs, through field based studies, working with small and medium-sized suppliers, development scheme of payments for environmental services, and so on.
- Develop project and activities by IUCN Mesoamerica and/or its members and partners geared to finding and implementing solutions to the environmental impacts of the company and offset the impacts of the company's operations on the environment.
Current and Future Work
The work carried out with private sector to date has concentrated on the cement, construction and tourism sectors. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with Holcim (Costa Rica and Nicaragua) S.A. in August 2008 seeks to contribute to the promotion of sustainable environmental and social practices related to the cement industry and the construction sector in general.
In the future, IUCN Mesoamerica hopes to expand its work with the private sector to areas such as certification, sustainable forestry, and markets for ecosystem services. The development of voluntary guidelines for critical productive sectors is also a regional priority.