Public and private sectors in biological conservation: the INBio case in Costa Rica. / O público e o privado na conservação biológica: o caso do INbio na Costa Rica




Using the process known as bioprospecting, it is proposed the use of the profits obtained with the commercialization of products, such as pharmaceuticals, in biological conservation activities. The objective of this work is to verify the importance of this instrument for conservation, by means of a case study focused in the experience of the National Biodiversity Institute (Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidade) (INBio), in Costa Rica. The methodology is based in the strategies of researching: a) case study; b) documents and c) bibliography research. The National Biodiversity Institute (INBio), a non-profit association which has endeavored to elaborate a national biodiversity inventory and signed various bioprospecting contracts, among them the renowned agreement with Merck pharmaceutical company. Some positive points should be emphasized from this experience: generation of knowledge about local biological resources through inventory; creation of a control system for accessing and identifying the collected materials; the development of a legal apparatus; the improvement of negotiation skills; the dissemination of information through scientific publications, activities oriented to Environmental Education and supporting national small and medium firms in the development of products based on the countrys biological resources. On the other hand, the data analyzed show low financial return, in spite of the fact that the income for the commercialization of some internally-developed products has begun. Payments have not been enough to cover the Institutes expenditures and there are still no developed products resulting from contracts with big companies and, therefore, the expectations relative to the receiving of royalties were still not fulfilled. There is a deficiency relative to the administrative control of these activities by the State, which reflects the lack of transparency of the available sources of information. The analysis of the obtained resources versus the transfer of funds for conservation is jeopardized due to incomplete information or lack of standardization in the presentation of data through the years. Deforestation has declined continuously, but it is impossible to relate this fact to the bioprospecting contracts, due to the diverse system of contribution and payment sources for services destined to the conservation of that countrys natural resources. Besides, the traditional knowledge of the local population has been ignored in the entire process conducted by INBio. Therefore, for the moment, what happens in Costa Rica is closer to represent an evolution in the sense of taking steps in the direction of using and conserving biological resources, but it still does not represent the solution or significant aid to the biological conservation in Costa Rica.


biodiversity bioprospecção biodiversidade private sector costa rica inbio setor público biological conservation costa rica bioprospecting public sector setor privado inbio conservação biológica

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