Panama will improve conservation and management of cultural and natural heritage with IDB support

The program, managed jointly by the National Institute of Culture (INAC) and the Ministry of Environment (MiAmbiente), will ensure the conservation and management of cultural and natural heritage 

The National Institute of Culture (INAC) and the Ministry of Environment (MiAmbiente) will work in a coordinated manner on a program for the conservation and management of Panama’scultural and natural heritage with $107 million in financing from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). The program is pioneering the management of natural and cultural assets jointly between different state institutions. 

The objective is to contribute to the preservation and enhancement of the country's unique assets. It aims to increase the public’s access to to cultural assets, by rehabilitating the Reina Torres de Araúz Archaeological and Anthropological Museum, and the fortifications of San Lorenzo and Portobelo. Included in the program is the provision of basic tourist infrastructure, the development of museography, the implementation of educational programs, and the development and implementation of a management plan. 

It also will preserve four protected natural areas, improving their management and financial sustainability: the Coiba National Park, the Barú Volcano National Park, the Portobelo National Park and the Protected Forest and Protected Landscape of San Lorenzo. The program will develop low-impact tourism in a way that is environmentally sustainable, limited to protected areas and requiring approved use plans establishing strict conservation management standards. 

The program also will allow Panama to meet international commitments, such as preparing Panama City to become the Ibero-American Capital of Culture in 2019 and meeting Aichi's goals for biodiversity in 2020. It also will facilitate steps needed to remove the fortifications of Portobelo and San Lorenzo from the UNESCO List of World Heritage in Danger. 

Countries’ cultural and natural heritage enriches humanity and contributes to inclusive and sustainable development. The program will use the preservation of heritage as a catalyst that creates jobs and contributes to the socioeconomic, cultural and environmental development of the country. The program will implement a Community Development Plan in Portobelo to encourage community participation, ensuring that the greatest benefits and opportunities are for the local population. 

The $107 million in IDB financing has a repayment term of 25 years, a grace period of 5.5 years and an interest rate based on LIBOR. It consists of two loans, one of $45 million for the INAC, and another of $62 million for MiAmbiente, which will be executed in a coordinated but independent manner by each of these institutions.

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The Inter-American Development Bank is devoted to improving lives. Established in 1959, the IDB is a leading source of long-term financing for economic, social and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB also conducts cutting-edge research and provides policy advice, technical assistance and training to public and private sector clients throughout the region.