Organizational Structure

Definition of the structural components of SINAC​

The National Council of Conservation Areas (CONAC - El Consejo Nacional de Áreas de Conservación)​
The Biodiversity Law Article 24 establishes the integration of the National Council of Conservation Areas as following:  
  1. The Minister of Environment and Energy, who will preside it;
  2. The Executive Director of the System, who will act as secretary of the board;
  3. The Executive Director of the Technical Office of the National Commission for Biodiversity Management;
  4. The directors of each Conservation Area
  5. A representative of each Regional Council of the Conservation Areas, designated by each Council.
In the Article 25 the CONAC functions are defined as:
  • Defining and implementing strategies aimed at the consolidation and development of the National System of Conservation Areas policy, and supervise their execution.
  • Monitor and control the correct technical and administrative management of the Conservation Areas. 
  • Co-ordinate, together with the Commission the development and updating of the National Strategy for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity, which should be widely consulted with civil society and properly coordinated with the entire public sector, within the framework of each Conservation Area.
  • Develop strategies and policies related to the consolidation and development of the State Protected Areas as well as oversee its management.
  • Approve the strategies, the structure of the administrative bodies of protected areas and plans / annual budgets of the Conservation Areas.
  • Recommend the creation of new protected areas to increase their protection category.
  • Execute technical and administrative audits for monitoring the proper management of the Conservation Areas and their protected areas.
  • Establish guidelines and directives for the structures, administrative mechanisms and regulations of the Conservation Areas.
  • Approve the execution of technical and financial strategies presented by the Executive Secretariat, seeking the consolidation and development of a national system of conservation areas. For This approval, the Executive Secretariat of the SYSTEM will coordinate the development of the respective Proposals, unique, formalized and included in the SYSTEM Quality Manual.
  • Ultimately approve the specific proposals that are the responsibility of the Council, submitted by the regional council of the Conservation Areas for managing their protected areas. The proposals will address compliance with the formats contained in the SYSTEM Quality Manual.
  • Provide technical support to the National Commission for Biodiversity Management (CONAGEBIO - Comisión Nacional para la Gestión de la Biodiversidad), through the Executive Secretary of the system, update the National Strategy for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity, which should be widely consulted with civil society and coordinated with the entire public sector, within the framework of each of Conservation Area.
  • Define the general guidelines to create the mechanisms and instruments of financial management for the regional councils of each conservation area, ensuring that criteria and principles established by the Biodiversity Law No. 7788 are met: The process definition will be led by the Executive Secretariat who will coordinate the preparation of documents and consultation at the level of Conservation Areas.
  • Appointing from a list of three proposed candidates, by the regional councils, the directors of the Conservation Area.
  • Approval of grant applications referred to in Article 39 of this Law.
  • Other necessary functions to meet the objectives of this and other laws related to the functions of the system.
The SYSTEM Executive Secretariat 
By means of Executive Decree No. 34433-MINAET of April 8, 2008 the Regulation of the Law on Biodiversity is established, which among others define the official functions of the Executive Secretariat:

a) Run the guidelines and resolutions of the National Council of Conservation Areas and Policies issued by the Minister of Environment and Energy.

b)  Facilitate the normalization and standardization of the technical and administrative processes of SINAC.

c)  Facilitate the implementation of policies for the integration of conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity at the country level and the development of cooperation in all fields.

d)  Develop, implement, evaluate, and organize a system for monitoring and supervision, to verify regulations compliance, policies and guidelines on biodiversity, to be applied by officials / as the National System of Conservation Areas.

e)  Supporting CONAC in the supervision, monitoring and evaluation of the Conservation Areas, in coordination with the Directors of the Conservation Areas.

f)  Propose the development and implementation of mechanisms to facilitate SINAC sustainability and efficiency in technical and administrative for their approval at CONAC.

g)  Strengthen SINAC´S human resource in order to facilitate the leading role of the Conservation Areas.

h)  Develop, monitor and evaluate together with the Conservation Areas the SINAC's Strategic Plan, based on the guidelines emanating from CONAC and the general policies of Environment Sector Minister.

i)  Provide follow-up actions at the national, regional and local levels to the resolutions and guidelines agreed in treaties. International conventions and agreements of cooperation.

j)  Coordinate with other national and international institutions and organizations for compliance with policies and directives issued by the competent authorities, agreements, contracts, protocols, treaties aimed at responsible management of biodiversity and other materials inside and outside the ASP.

k)  Provide technical and administrative support to the National Council of Conservation Areas.

l)  Create and maintain a documentation center and information system that allows the generation of regular statistics for decision-making.

m)  Ensure the implementation of binding legislation with SINAC.

n)  Other functions through the respective agreement, assigned by the National Council of Conservation Areas.       
Conservation Areas  
Article No. 28 of Biodiversity Law establishes "The system will consist of territorial units called Conservation Areas under the general supervision of the Ministry of Environment and Energy, through the National Council of Conservation Areas, with jurisdiction throughout the national territory, as in the case of protected areas, areas with highly fragile or private areas of economic exploitation.

Each conservation area is a territorial administratively defined unit of the country, governed by unique development and management strategy and properly coordinated with the rest of the sector.

The functions of the conservation areas are, as follows:

  • Implement current legislation in the field of natural resources within their geographical area. 
  • Implement policies, strategies and programs approved by the CONAC, on protected areas programs.
  • Application of other laws governing its matters such as the Law of Conservation of Wildlife, Forest Law, Constitutional Law and Law establishing the National Park Service.

The regulations of the Law on Biodiversity, Decree 34433-MINAE establishes in Article 20 that geographical boundaries of each conservation area will be established by Executive Order and the same will be based on technical studies that seek to maintain the scientifically identified ecological processes, to achieve in this way the objectives of SINAC and the Biodiversity Act.

Conservation areas will be divided into territorial subunits based on the respective technical studies, which will be governed by the same development and management strategy.   
Administrative structure of Conservation Areas 
Article 27 of the Biodiversity Law defines the following Administrative Structure of the Conservation Areas:

  • The Regional Council of Conservation Area
  • The Regional Directorate of the Conservation Area
  • The scientific and technical committee
  • The national financial management of protected areas
Directorate of Conservation Areas: 
Under Article 31 of the Law on Biodiversity it is stablished that each Conservation Area, under the responsibility of a Director, who will be responsible for implementing this law, and other laws governing the matter, as well as, implement and execute national guidelines and policies, the Regional Council of the Conservation Area or the Minister of Environment and Energy, to those who will respond. It shall ensure the integration and smooth operation of the technical committee and the organ of financial management as well as training, supervision and staff welfare.

As mentioned, the Conservation Areas are territorial units, governed under a single development strategy and administration, where both private and state activities for the management and conservation of natural resources interact.                  
The Regional Council (CORAC)
According to Article No. 29 of Biodiversity Law, the SYTEM shall execute the administration of conservation areas, by means of a Regional Council, which will be integrated by public announcement, made by the regional representative of the System to all non-governmental organizations and community parties, municipalities and public institutions in the area.

This Council is conformed by Regional Director of the Conservation Area, which serves as its Executive Secretary, plus representatives from different sectors present in the CA, elected by the Assembly of organizations and institutions convened, always assuming a municipal representative.

According to Article 30 of Biodiversity Law, are functions of the Regional Council the following:

a) Ensure the implementation of policies in the field.

b) Ensuring the integration of community needs in the plans and activities of the Conservation Area.

c) Encourage the participation of different sectors of the Area in the analysis, discussion and search for solutions to regional problems related to natural resources and the environment.

d) Present the proposal to the National Council for the appointment of the Director of the Department, through a three candidate’s shortlist.

e) Approve the strategies, policies, guidelines, directives, plans and specific budgets of the Conservation Area, at the proposal of the Area Director and the scientific and technical committee.

f) To define specific matters for the management of protected areas, and present them to the National Council for approval.

g) Recommend to the National Council of Conservation Areas the creation, modification or change of status of their protected areas.

h) Supervising the Director and the body established for financial management.

i) To approve, in the first instance, with regard to concessions and service contracts as set out in Article No. 39.

j) Any other function assigned by national legislation or by the National Council.
Local Councils
According to the authorization of Article 29 of Biodiversity Law, in conservation areas where required, due to their complexity, may be established by agreement of CORAC, local councils whose constitution is defined in the agreement setting.

Local Councils will be an element provided for in the Constitutive Act of CORAC, while its operation is specified in the Regulations of each Regional Council. Likewise, once defined and justified its constitution, specific regulations will be developed detailing the type of functions to be run. Ideally, the Local Council will be a mechanism for conflict resolution, and public participation in environmental responsible management.​​​​​