The Global Conservation Standard is an area-based verification mechanism. Inside projects, we differentiate between the Core Conservation Area and the Commercial Buffer Zone.
The requirements for the Core Conservation Area are high: Legal land ownership needs be established, and the landowner needs to be at least among the project proponents. Once defined and validated, this area cannot be reduced over a period of at least 30 years. However, newly core protected areas can be added at any time, in consultation with the GCS Secretariat. The sale of Conservation Credit Units (CCUs) will cover conservation management and at least a part of the opportunity cost of protection.
The Commercial Buffer Zone is the area of influence as defined by the project proponents. The population in this area will also benefit from the sale of CCUs, because they too usually incur opportunity cost from protected areas in their neighborhood. Usually, the population will be represented by one or more non-governmental organizations.
The size and shape of this Buffer Zone can be adapted over time in consultation with the GCS Secretariat.
The projects currently funded are:
- Private Reserve Karen Mogensen
- Barbilla National Park
- Acuíferos Guácimo-Pococí Special Interest Site for Conservation
Depending on national administrative structures, regions that include protected areas can be validated as umbrella projects. In the case of Costa Rica, these are the Áreas de Conservación, 11 of which cover the whole territory. These can be pre-validated, so that all core conservation areas are covered under the standard, as verified by our local partners. They will produce annual reports to be cross-checked by the GCS Technical Panel. Where full transparency is provided, umbrella projects offer a chance to drastically reduce transaction costs.
There are now two umbrella projects in Costa Rica, each of them composed by three Áreas de Conservación as defined under national law. Further additions are currently under consideration.
© 2023 Global Conservation Standard