Costa Rica Suspends Development Projects at Leatherback National Park

by | Sep 26, 2005

Costa Rica Suspends Development Projects at Leatherback National Park

September 20, 2005 – San Jose, Costa Rica
The Costa Rican Technical Secretariat of the Environmental (SETENA) has suspended all development projects and proposals on the first 125 meters of beach within the Leatherback National Park.  The resolution of SETENA was published on August 30, 2005 and recently announced to the public.

The resolution came in response to a ruling by the Costa Rican Constitutional Court requiring SETENA to take steps necessary to ensure that any development does not affect the Leatherback sea turtle or its nesting beaches.  That ruling, which declared SETENA in violation of the Constitutional right to a healthy and ecologically balanced environment, came in March 2005 after a lawsuit filed by the Inter-American Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA), the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Center (CEDARENA), Justice for Nature (JPN), the Leatherback Trust, the Caribbean Conservation Corporation (CCC), Sea Turtle Restoration Program (PRETOMA), the ANAI Association and the Costa Rican National Network for Sea Turtle Conservation.

SETENA’s decision is a positive step for the protection of the Leatherback sea turtle in Costa Rica and for the Leatherback National Park,” stated Rolando Castro, lawyer for CEDARENA.  “While we await further rulings by the Constitutional Court we at least know that development projects will neither be constructed nor authorized in the area where leatherbacks nest.” 

The SETENA resolution also applies to land within the park where expropriation is imminent.  Development is those areas will be suspended for one year.

“We trust that Costa Rica will continue to take measures to protect sea turtles in compliance with the Constitution and international accords,” declares Anna Cederstav Program Director for AIDA.  “Such measures are beneficial for the biodiversity as well as for coastal communities by promoting true economic development which stewards natural resources for current and future generations.”

Rolando Castro, CEDARENA, (506) 283-7080,
Anna Cederstav, AIDA (510) 550-6748, 

SETENA Suspende Procedimientos de evaluaci