More than 200 people representing 22 Latin American and Caribbean countries were on hand Wednesday for the opening of the eighth Latin American Conference on Forest and Environmental Law at the Colegio de Abogados y Abogadas in Zapote in east San José.
The theme of this year’s conference is “Forests, Governance and Forest Law: Forest Legislation for the People.” It is an important for topic for a region with almost 49 percent of its total area covered in forest. That area, some 891 million hectares, represents approximately 22 percent of the world’s forests, according to a United Nations report.
José Joaquín Campos, director general of the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE), which helped organize the conference, delivered a report in the first session of the conference urging attendees to remember that social, economic and environmental conditions are often inseparable.
“We must be creative to achieve a forestry sector that is truly a strategic part of society’s development. Costa Rica has several advantages in terms of forestry development and conservation and the forestry industry, including capable human capital and a good reputation for efforts in conservation, through our protected areas and through political efforts like payment for environmental services, which give the country credibility,” Campos said.
The conference will run through Oct. 28.