Posts Tagged ‘#CentralAmericaNews’

Panama Achieves 50% Ocean Protection with Newly Expanded Banco Volcán Marine Protected Area

PANAMA CITY, March 2, 2023 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — On March 2, 2023, during the opening ceremony of the 2023 Our Ocean Conference, Laurentino Cortizo, President of Panama, and Milciades Concepción, Minister of Environment, signed the decree to substantially expand the limits of the Banco Volcán Area of Managed Resources (Banco Volcán AMR) to further protect and steward important marine ecosystems, endangered flora and fauna, and important fishing resources found within Panama’s territorial waters in the Caribbean Sea. The expansion increases the size of the Banco Volcán AMR from approximately 14,200 sq km to over 90,000 sq km, with at least half of the total zone designated as a fully protected marine area where no extractive or environmentally damaging activities will be allowed.

Whales, rays, turtles, and sharks, including this tiger shark, are among the many sea creatures harbored by Panama's waters. Photo credit: Paul Nicklen

“Today I am proud to announce that Panama is not going to stop at just having 30% of its exclusive economic zone under some level of protection, but here, at this moment and in front of more than 400 people from all over the world, together with the President of the Republic of Panama, His Excellency Mr. Laurentino Cortizo Cohen, we have signed the executive decree that expands the Banco Volcán Area of Managed Resources; therefore, as of today, through this conference, we announce that the Republic of Panama will be conserving 54.26% of its exclusive economic zone.” - Milciades Concepción, Panama’s Minister of Environment.

With this act Panama achieves the protection of more than 50% of its total marine area, becoming one of the few nations globally to reach such a milestone—and the only one in Latin America—and significantly surpasses the goal of protecting at least 30% of the country’s marine area by 2030 (30×30), an international target recently adopted by roughly 190 countries during the 15th United Nations Biodiversity Conference and that scientists say is critical to help stop the global loss of biodiversity.

The decision follows a commitment made by the government of Panama during the United Nations Ocean Conference held in Lisbon, Portugal in 2022, where Panama’s Minister of the Environment expressed Panama’s intention to expand its protected marine area from 30% to at least 40% before 2024. Subsequently, in July 2022, the Minister of the Environment requested the support of the Smithsonian Institute of Tropical Research (STRI) to conduct scientific research necessary to expand the boundaries of the Banco Volcán protected area and prepare its management plan and zoning, and thus contribute to the regional effort to protect “this great marine ecosystem.” Other organizations, including the Blue Nature Alliance, MigraMar, Mission Blue, The Wyss Foundation and SeaLegacy also offered their expertise across a range of areas, providing scientific, technical, policy and communications support to help achieve this ambitious marine protection effort, the first of its kind in Latin America.

“Panama’s leadership in expanding Banco Volcán has demonstrated that commitment and action on marine conservation can go beyond the standard target of protecting at least 30% of the ocean. We hope the world, and particularly other Caribbean countries, will follow Panama’s lead and protect at least 30% of their national waters—or increase their ambition beyond that commitment,” said Joaquín Labougle, Blue Nature Alliance regional lead for the Caribbean and Latin America. “The Blue Nature Alliance, with other partners, is pleased to support Panama’s leadership in protecting the marine environment for the benefit of people and nature and remains ready to collaborate with other countries on large-scale ocean conservation.”

The Banco Volcán AMR was first established by executive decree in 2015 following the conclusion of a technical study that revealed the area as having unique natural characteristics. However, its original extension did not support connectivity with other existing or anticipated protected areas of the surrounding countries in the Caribbean Sea region. A new technical study conducted by the Ministry of Environment in collaboration with Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute determined that expanding the Banco Volcán AMR is necessary to help build resilience within marine ecosystems against the effects of human pressure and the climate crisis, to protect marine fauna and the deep-water environments of Panama and the Southwestern Caribbean, and to support the connectivity of migratory routes that are critical to the survival of pelagic and marine-coastal species.

“We strived to obtain the best scientific evidence to achieve this expansion and thus guarantee the smooth implementation of the marine protected area, which will provide benefits for the coastal communities of the region and will support biological connectivity with other oceanic and continental marine protected areas with the rest of the coastal-marine zone of the Caribbean Sea. Collaborating with the government of the Republic of Panama, we have once again achieved an example of scientific diplomacy.” - Hector Guzmán, Senior Staff Scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and a member of the MigraMar network.

The expansion of the Banco Volcán AMR encompasses four submarine ridges, recognized as aggregation sites for pelagic species, as well as deep plains and geological formations linked to high biodiversity that includes highly migratory and endangered pelagic species. The expanded Banco Volcán AMR is important for the protection of 120 species of pelagic fish, including three species considered to be critically endangered: the scalloped hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini), the great hammerhead shark (Sphyrna mokarran) and the oceanic whitetip shark (Carcharhinus longimanus); and five species considered to be endangered, including the whale shark (Rhincodon typus), the mako shark (Isurus oxyrinchus), two sharks associated with great depths (Centrophorus granulosus and Centrophorus tessellatus) and the giant oceanic manta ray (Mobula birostris). Nevertheless, the authors of the technical study to support the expansion of the Banco Volcán AMR emphasize the need for increased scientific research in the region, stating that until more studies can be completed, the total number of species must be regarded as a considerable underestimate.

“Congratulations to the beautiful nation of Panamá, President Laurentino Cortizo and Minister Concepción, for expanding yet another marine protected area, this time in the Caribbean Sea, and helping accelerate regional collaboration to safeguard critical marine ecosystems. With the expansion of Banco Volcán, Panamá will now protect over 50% of its waters, and is leading the world in ocean diplomacy, science, and conservation. We are deeply inspired by Panama’s commitment to protect and restore our ocean and hope to see world leaders following their ambitious example,” - Cristina Mittermeier, co-founder, SeaLegacy.

The expansion will also support connectivity with other marine protected areas in the Caribbean Sea, helping advance regional collaboration with Colombia, Nicaragua, Honduras, Jamaica, and Costa Rica to help stop the loss of marine biodiversity. It will also help promote increased scientific research to generate enhanced knowledge about marine biodiversity, migration patterns, conservation status, and the effects of human activities including climate change. Ultimately, the expansion will help build a network of marine protected areas across the Caribbean Sea in close partnership with neighboring nations.

“Once again, the American continent continues to show its leadership in protecting the ocean, however, Panama has set the bar quite high, with an indisputable legacy and the necessary response to the planetary crisis we’re experiencing today. - Max Bello, Ocean Policy Advisor, Mission Blue.

By taking this action, Panama once again demonstrates its commitment to the protection of marine biodiversity and the responsible management of marine resources, serving as a visionary Blue Leader committed to highly and fully protecting the ocean and to making decisions based on the latest scientific research. Panama hopes that its leadership in the protection of the marine environment will accelerate regional and global collaboration to catalyze the conservation of the ocean and to advance the implementation of large-scale ocean conservation efforts.

About Blue Nature Alliance
The Blue Nature Alliance is a global partnership that collaborates with governments, NGOs, local and Indigenous communities, scientists, and other organizations to catalyze and accelerate large-scale ocean conservation. The Alliance supports the marine conservation work of more than 60 partners in approximately 25 sites across the globe, in all five oceans and the high seas. It was founded and is led by Conservation International, The Pew Charitable Trusts, The Global Environment Facility, Minderoo Foundation, and the Rob & Melani Walton Foundation. Learn more at

About SeaLegacy
Founded in 2014 by the world’s leading conservation photographers and explorers, Cristina Mittermeier, Paul Nicklen, and Andy Mann, SeaLegacy is the global marketing, education, and communication agency for the ocean. At the nexus of climate action and sustainable solutions, we create strategies and content that instill hope and move audiences into action. SeaLegacy’s mission is to use strategic communications at the intersection of art, science, and conservation to protect and rewild the ocean within our lifetimes. Guided by science and driven by purpose, SeaLegacy brings ocean stories and solutions to light for the benefit of biodiversity, humanity, and climate.

About Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute was founded with the purpose of increasing and sharing knowledge about the past, present and future of tropical ecosystems and their relevance to human welfare. This work began in Panama in 1910, when the Smithsonian led one of the world’s first major environmental impact studies, which surveyed and cataloged the flora and fauna of the lowland tropical forests that would be flooded with the creation of the Panama Canal. A century later, the Smithsonian in Panama is a standard-setting global platform for groundbreaking research on tropical forests and marine ecosystems and their astounding biodiversity. Today, STRI employs 40 staff scientists and hosts some 1,400 scientific visitors every year, from undergrads and interns to postdoctoral investigators and tenured research associates. Together, they collaborate on 350 running research projects and publish more than 400 peer reviewed articles in scientific journals every year. The research is not only shared widely around the global scientific community, but also reaches policymakers in Panama and beyond, receives media coverage around the globe, and is the foundation of an outreach and training program that reaches hundreds of teachers and tens of thousands of schoolchildren every year.

About Mission Blue
Mission Blue inspires action to explore and protect the ocean. Led by legendary oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle, Mission Blue is uniting a global coalition to inspire an upwelling of public awareness, access and support for a worldwide network of marine protected areas – Hope Spots. Under Dr. Earle’s leadership, the Mission Blue team implements communications campaigns that elevate Hope Spots to the world stage through documentaries, social media, traditional media and innovative tools like Esri ArcGIS. Mission Blue also embarks on regular oceanic expeditions that shed light on these vital ecosystems and build support for their protection.

About the Wyss Foundation
The Wyss Foundation is a private, charitable foundation dedicated to supporting innovative, lasting solutions that improve lives, empower communities, and strengthen connections to the land. To confront the global conservation crisis, the Wyss Foundation launched a $1.5 billion campaign called the Wyss Campaign for Nature. The campaign’s goal is to help conserve 30% of the planet in a natural state by the year 2030 by creating and expanding protected areas, implementing international conservation targets, and inspiring conservation action around the world.

About MigraMar
MigraMar is the leading scientific authority in migratory species research in the Eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO). Over the last fifteen years, MigraMar have identified critical areas where migratory species are more vulnerable, including feeding and breeding grounds, and areas where seasonal migrations occur. These results have informed governments and stakeholders on the functioning and connectivity of marine protected areas (MPAs), and have supported decisions to improve protection for migratory species across the region. MigraMar has delivered scientific evidence to support the creation of new marine reserves and expansion of existing reserves. The total area of MPAs has increased fourfold, from 156,000 km2 in 2010 to 630,000 km2 in 2022, providing larger grounds for migratory species to move without risk of capture. Our Swimways Initiative has been adopted by national authorities and is currently used as the binding tissue for regional governmental collaborations.

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LONGi successfully completes its participation in the IV edition of Renpower Central America & the Caribbean

PANAMA CITY, Feb. 16, 2023 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — On February 15 and 16 in Panama City, LONGi participated as a Gold Sponsor in the fourth edition of Renpower Central America & the Caribbean, where the measures and strategies that continue to catalyze the energy transition of this block of countries were evaluated.

Two days, eight sessions, more than 12 hours of content and approximately 20 expert speakers to inform and discuss the development of renewable energies

During the session, Antonio Morales, Sr. Sales Manager Utility Mexico, Central America and Caribbean of LONGi Solar, spoke on the panel “Execution of Renewable Projects in Central America and the Caribbean – Innovative Technologies and O&M”, where he highlighted why LONGi is a reference in R&D for the photovoltaic sector, with ultra-high efficiency products that adapt to the needs of customers and are unparalleled in the market.

LONGi, a world leader in the manufacture of monocrystalline photovoltaic cells and modules, reaffirms its commitment to energy development in the region, contributing its technology and know-how to achieve global energy equity.

About LONGi

Founded in 2000, LONGi is committed to being the world’s leading solar technology company, focusing on customer-driven value creation for full scenario energy transformation.

Under its mission of ‘making the best of solar energy to build a green world’, LONGi has dedicated itself to technology innovation and established five business sectors, covering mono silicon wafers cells and modulescommercial & industrial distributed solar solutionsgreen energy solutions and hydrogen equipment. The company has honed its capabilities to provide green energy and has more recently, also embraced green hydrogen products and solutions to support global zero carbon development.

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Leading company in pharmaceutical innovation, based in our country, signs unprecedented agreement for the arrival of vaccines against COVID-19

PANAMA CITY, Feb. 23, 2022 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — ASOFARMA Central America and the Caribbean, through its parent company ADIUM, and Moderna Inc. reached a collaboration agreement for the distribution and commercialization in the region of SPIKEVAX, the vaccine developed by Moderna against SARS -CoV-2.

ASOFARMA Central America and the Caribbean is a leading pharmaceutical company in the region, which develops, produces and markets innovative products in therapeutic areas such as oncology, cardiology, central nervous system, diabetes and urology, among others.

As part of the agreement reached, ASOFARMA will collaborate with Moderna in the management of supply contracts already in force, as well as in vaccine registration processes, support for pharmacovigilance activities, continuing medical education, government affairs, marketing, and generation of new agreements that facilitate the availability of SPIKEVAX in the region.

“We are delighted to partner with Moderna to help patients, physicians and governments in this effort against COVID-19. Moderna is a leading company in the fight against the pandemic, and we are proud to have been chosen as partners for this task, providing all our experience and regional presence,” said Bernardo Girala, General Manager of ASOFARMA Central America and the Caribbean.

“This alliance confirms our purpose of providing the population with innovative treatments that help improve their quality of life and expand vaccination rates in the region,” Girala said.

Moderna Inc., a pioneer biotechnology company in the development of messenger RNA (mRNA) therapies and vaccines, has relied on ASOFARMA to make possible the arrival in the region of its vaccine against COVID 19, Spikevax.

Moderna’s mRNA platform is based on continuous advances in basic and applied mRNA science, delivery and manufacturing technology; which has allowed the development of therapies and vaccines for infectious diseases, immuno-oncology, rare diseases, cardiovascular diseases and autoimmune diseases.

With this new agreement reached by ASOFARMA, Moderna Inc. joins a list of international pharmaceutical and biotechnological research and development companies that ASOFARMA has represented in the region for more than twenty years.

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Aireon Signs Agreement With COCESNA To Expand Global Air Traffic Surveillance To Central America

MCLEAN, Virginia, Oct. 23, 2019 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ – Aireon LLC (Aireon) and COCESNA (Corporación Centroamericana de Servicios de Navegación Aérea) announced that they have signed an agreement to deploy space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) in Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. The agreement also establishes a strategic partnership to enhance the operations and collaboration of air traffic surveillance in the Central American region.

Spanning the entire Central American flight information region (FIR), COCESNA’s region encompasses more than 2.6 million square kilometers terrestrial airspace and extensive oceanic areas in the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean. Its central location in the Americas positions COCESNA as the major air traffic control provider at the crossroads of the Caribbean, North, South and Central America.

“Aireon is thrilled to welcome COCESNA as a customer, extending the benefits of space-based air traffic surveillance through Central American airspace,” said Don Thoma, CEO, Aireon. “This agreement represents the beginning of a long-term partnership that will boost operations and efficiency in the region.”

In addition to deploying space-based ADS-B throughout the region and within its member States, this agreement establishes a partnership by which COCESNA can utilize the Aireon data to support its leading role in advancing operations across the region. The strategic partnership brings a greater level of collaboration to the existing agreement and also enables the use of space-based ADS-B data for airspace and traffic optimization projects such as the CANSO ATFM Data Exchange Network for the Americas (CADENA) initiative.

Mr. Juan Carlos Trabanino, Executive President of COCESNA, said, “We pride ourselves as being a regional leader in efficiency and safety. From surveillance of our airspace to optimization about our services provided across Central America, Aireon’s data will radically improve all aspects of our business that assures seamless air traffic management across our land and maritime sectors.  We look forward to the beginning of operations in the third quarter of 2020, and are pleased to work with Aireon in this important development for aviation in our region.”

“This partnership demonstrates that Aireon’s space-based ADS-B data generates significant near, medium and long-term value and operational benefits to their organization,” said Thoma.

About Aireon LLC
Aireon has deployed a space-based air traffic surveillance system for Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) equipped aircraft throughout the entire globe. Aireon is harnessing next-generation aviation surveillance technologies that were formerly ground-based and, for the first time ever, is extending their reach globally to significantly improve efficiency, enhance safety, reduce emissions and provide cost savings benefits to all stakeholders. Space-based ADS-B surveillance covers oceanic, polar and remote regions, and augments existing ground-based systems that are limited to terrestrial airspace. In partnership with leading ANSPs from around the world, like NAV CANADA, the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), Enav, NATS and Naviair, as well as Iridium Communications, Aireon is providing a global, real-time, space-based air traffic surveillance system, available to all aviation stakeholders. For more information, please visit

The COCESNA (Corporación Centroamericana de Servicios de Navegación Aérea) is the non-profit, public service organization ensuring safe and efficient air navigation and aeronautical telecommunication to the Central American flight information region (FIR). The organization covers 2.6 million square kilometers of FIR, including six member states (Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua) and maritime areas in the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean. For more information about COCESNA, visit:

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