February 23, 2018
On February 16, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed minutes of meetings with the eight member nations of the Central American Commission for Environment and Development (CCAD)  of the Central American Integration System (SICA)  in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, concerning an overview of a regional technical cooperation project on the sustainable conservation of biodiversity in the SICA region .
The project will be the first technical cooperation project under the framework of a regional international agency in Central and South America. By building capacity for biodiversity conservation among the eight SICA-CCAD member countries, the project aims to promote sustainable biodiversity conservation in Central America and the Caribbean.
Located in Central America and the Caribbean, SICA member countries comprise approximately merely one percent of the world’s land yet are one of the world’s leading areas for biodiversity, accounting for eight percent of the animal and plant species on the planet. However, that ecosystem is currently being lost and the area has been designated as a “biodiversity hotspot” . JICA has carried out bilateral cooperation in the past with SICA member countries in the natural environmental conservation sector, including biodiversity conservation; yet, ecosystems such as forests, wetlands, rivers and marine ecosystems where many plants and animals live cross national boundaries, requiring regional efforts for conservation. For this reason, SICA approached the Government of Japan with a request for cooperation to implement a specific regional project.
As the first regional technical cooperation project under the framework of a regional international agency in Central and South America, the project will build on a foundation of outcomes and trust relationships cultivated through past bilateral cooperation toward sustainable conservation of the biodiversity that is so vital to Central America and the Caribbean. Toward that end, the project will:1) create a regional information system for centrally ascertaining the status of biodiversity conservation throughout the region; 2) study and extend business models under which both biodiversity conservation and regional economic development can progress; and 3) share intra-regional knowledge and build the capacity of experts.
 In Spanish, Comisión Centroamericana de Ambiente y Desarrollo.
 Established with the signing of the Protocol of Tegucigalpa in 1991, the SICA (in Spanish, Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana) was established for regional socioeconomic integration with the objectives of peace, freedom, democracy and development. There are eight member countries: Belize, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. There are various committees for the environment, goods distribution, gender issues and other sectors, with varying member countries sitting on the committees (all eight member countries are on the CCAD).
 A record of discussions is planned to be signed between JICA and the SICA-CCAD, followed by commencement of the project.
 An area designated by the international non-government organization Conservation International having a significant level of biodiversity with many unique species and whose ecosystem is under threat of destruction. As of 2017, there are 36 such biodiversity hotspots around the world, including Japan.
|Country||The eight member countries of SICA-CCAD (Belize, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama)|
|Project title||The Strategic Capacity Building Project for Sustainable Utilization and Conservation of Biodiversity in SICA|
|Planned implementation period||October 2018 to October 2023|
|Executing agency||The ministries of the environment of the SICA-CCAD member countries|
|Target region, facilities||The eight SICA-CCAD member countries|
|Specific project details (provisional)||Building a regional biodiversity information platform, pilot activities for sustainable biodiversity conservation and use, policy proposals, capacity building of member country experts|