Sea turtle protection across frontiers

Since 2000 organizations from the Netherlands, Benin and Costa Rica started working relationships to promote sea turtle protection. This was possible under bilateral international agreements between the Netherlands and the two other countries. The agreements aim to work towards more sustainable development in the member countries by cooperation and the exchange of knowledge. They promote the cooperation between NGOs from the different countries involved.

International agreement of KIT-NIPS and CBDD

NIPS - the Netherlands International Partnership for Sustainability - coordinates in the Netherlands the implementation of the agreements on sustainable development. The principles of the agreements are: reciprocity, equality and participation, in order to promote the exploration of new horizons. NIPS has the ambition to contribute towards the development of new standards in North-South relations.

NIPS wants to stimulate global sustainable development with the recognition of mutual dependency and responsibility, the necessity for equal sharing, also for the benefit of future generations and the ability to learn from each other and each others organizations. The counterpart of NIPS in Benin is the CBDD, the Centre Beninois pour le Developpement Durable.

Study trip to Costa Rica

In september 2000, two members from Nature Tropicale and two members from Biotopic traveled to Costa Rica for a study trip. Accompanied by Randall Arauz from Pretoma (Programa Restauracion de Tortugas Marinas), they visited marine turtle projects in San Miguel, Ostional, and Playa Grande. Next, the CCC (Caribbean Conservation Corporation) sea turtle conservation program in Tortuguero was visited, and finally, a trip to Gandoca was made, to the volunteer

Hatchery in San Miguel, Costa Rica.

program that has been put into effect by Asociación ANAI. The visited projects provided examples for different approaches in marine turtle conservation like ecotourism, community involvement, research, legal egg harvesting, and ecovolunteers.

Evaluation in Benin

The second part consisted of an evaluation of the situation concerning marine turtle conservation in Benin. During the evaluation, Biotopic and Nature Tropicale were supported by Dr. Jacques Fretey (marine turtle expert and scientific coordinator for IUCN-France and the CMS in the West and Central African region). The evaluation consisted of visits to environmental organisations, the university of Benin, local communities and ecoguards, nesting beaches, and markets. The evaluation showed the importance of the participation of stakeholders in conservation issues at the coastal zone of Benin.


The third part consisted of a workshop in Benin in order to train conservationists in Benin and neighbouring countries in the different aspects of sea turtle biology and conservation. The workshop (under scientific direction of Dr Jacques Fretey) lasted a week, and was visited by twenty-one participants from a.o. seven West African countries: Benin (Nature Tropicale, AVPN, BPL), Togo (Universite du Benin Lome Togo), Cameroon (Projet Campo), Senegal (Village des Tortues), Sierra Leone (Conservation Society of Sierra Leone), Liberia (SAMFU Foundation), Ghana (Ghana Wildlife Society), USA (Peace Corps), France (IUCN), and The Netherlands (Biotopic).

Participation in Conservation

In February 2003 several meetings were organized by Nature Tropicale, Coope Sol i Dar, Biotopic and IUCN at the coastal zone of Benin. Information and discussion sessions with the different stakeholders in Benin took place. Comparisons were made with the situation in Suriname where ecotourism plays an important role in the conservation efforts and the local economy. Costa Rican practices on participation methodologies were showed and explained. Together with the stakeholders a first inventory of their problems was made. With the members of Nature Tropicale a session was organized on the methodology for the analysis, identification and how to prioritize the actors.

School children demonstrating in Benin


A more direct approach to one group of actors in the future would benefit in looking for a better conservation of the environment with the participation of these actors. Possible alternative socio-economical development can be discussed with the actors like for instance in ecotourism and aquaculture. Participation methodologies used in Costa Rican field projects, appeared to be useful in the African context and in the work that Nature Tropicale does in Benin.



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This project was funded by KIT-NIPS (The Netherlands), the CBDD (Centre Beninois pour le Developpement Durable), IUCN-France and the Dutch Comité for the IUCN.