Biodiversity Law - Law 7788 of 1998 (Costa Rica)

Ley de Biodiversidad - Ley 7788 of 1998 (Costa Rica)


Law 7788 of 1998, the Biodiversity Law, has been widely praised as being one of the most complete implementations of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity into national law. 

Its objective is the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable use of resources and the equitable distribution of benefits and derived costs (Art.1). This objective is expanded on by Art. 10 to expressly include promoting the adoption of incentives and rewards for environmental services for conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Arts. 100-104 set out the range of incentives that could be offered.

Art.11 enacts the preventative and precautionary principles. It also states that biodiversity should be used in the public interest (including conservation, food security and the interest of future generations) and that conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity should be integrated across other policy areas. 

Art 28 gave the Ministry of Environment (MINAE) the power to create a new set of territorial units within Costa Rica for the purpose of environmental management. MINAE has divided the country into eleven Conservation Areas, which are defined as territorial units with an interplay of private and State activities and which seek joint solutions guided by conservation and sustainable natural resource development strategies (SINAC Strategic Plan 2010-2015).

Art. 22 created the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) to manage the Conservation Areas by merging the National Park Service, the Forestry Department and the Wildlife Service. According to Art. 22, SINAC is a decentralised, participative, management and coordination institution. Its roles are in forestry, wildlife, protected areas and other, and its aim is to set policies, plan and implement processes to achieve sustainable natural resource management.