Coiba National Park

Panama’s Coiba National Park Gains Blue Spark Status

During its 25th Anniversary Ocean Gala, the Marine Conservation Institute awarded Panama’s Coiba National Park Blue Spark status. The title is given to governments, managers, and communities to recognize outstanding marine protected areas and incentivize effective conservation around the world. Panama has committed its Coiba park to reach the Blue Park standard, which is the Marine Conservation Institute’s highest level of protection. 

“For Panama, it is an honor that Coiba National Park is now a Blue Spark, on the path to becoming a Blue Park, reaffirming Panama’s commitment to ensure the conservation of coastal marine resources,” said Shirley Binder, Director of Protected Areas and Biodiversity in Panama’s Ministry of Environment, during the gala.  

“Coiba National Park is one of the largest and most important marine parks in Panama, with the largest island in the Mesoamerican pacific, Coiba Island, with 38 other smaller islands and islets, surrounded by high marine biodiversity,” she added. 

As a nation bordered by the Atlantic and Pacific, Panama has always understood its unique responsibility to safeguard the waters along its borders. Its work to protect the Coiba National Park is just part of a larger effort to keep its marine ecosystems clean – Panama has designated five special marine-coastal resource management zones and more than 46 marine protected areas. The country has also worked with the United Nations to produce a National Action Plan on Marine Litter, aimed at reducing marine pollution. Panama is one of the first countries in Latin America to create such a plan.  

Panama’s leadership in this space extends beyond domestic actions – Panama was proud to partner with Ecuador, Colombia, and Costa Rica at COP26 to announce the protection of the Eastern Tropical Pacific Marine Corridor, combining national marine protected areas to create one of the world’s largest and most biodiverse protected marine areas.  

In 2023, Panama will host the Our Ocean world conference, convening industry, civil society, and academia to discuss ocean protection measures and responsible plastics management.  

As organizations like the Marine Conservation Initiative push the world towards a 30 percent marine conservation goal, Panama is showing global leadership, having already surpassed this goal. Panama looks forward to continuing its leadership in marine conservation, through collaboration with the Marine Conservation Institute and beyond.