Story | 21 May, 2019

Exchange workshop on natural protected areas finance Mexico-Cuba

Exchanging experiences between Mexico and Cuba on national protected areas finance: scaling-up the implementation of the Incubator for Nature Conservation in Cuba: Mexico City, 26-28 February 2019


Representatives from the Cuban Protected Areas National System, the Mexican Fund for the Conservation of Nature (FMCN) and the Mexican National Commission for Protected Areas (CONAP) met together in Mexico City to exchange experiences on the financing of natural protected areas. The meeting was organized as part of the IUCN Incubator for Nature Conservation (INC), a programme that helps nurture and shape innovative ideas for making and channelling revenue to finance protected areas. Representatives from the IUCN and the INC working group also attended the workshop. As Guanahacabibes Cuban National Park is one of the INC partner sites, special regard was given to strengthening the implementation of the Incubator in this site.

Presentations were delivered on the activities conducted by each organization. The Cuban representatives explained how the protected area system operates in Cuba. A representative from FMCN explained its role and especially its collaborative work with CONAP to finance protected areas and contribute to filling the conservation financial gap.

A fieldtrip was organized as part of the workshop to illustrate the entrance fee mechanism to finance protected areas.  The visit to the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, El Rosario Sanctuary inspired the Cuban participants. A Monarch Fund promotes the conservation and protection of forests in the core zone of the Biosphere reserve and visitors are paying entrance fees to the Sanctuary.

During the last day, the Cuban Centre for Investigation and Environmental Services presented its work and focused on the issue of the financial gap in protected area conservation. Two projects related to protected areas sustainable financing, one in Cuba and one in Mexico, were also presented to the group.

During the workshop, the possibilities to channel revenue from protected areas and especially on the opportunity to control access to protected areas were explored. The participants highlighted the need for good communication to implement entrance fees to Cuban protected areas, providing awareness that “everything is for everyone, but we all need to contribute to its conservation”.

Through the INC project, IUCN will continue to support Cuba for the sustainable financing of protected areas - and hopes that this first exchange-workshop will produce a positive butterfly effect!