The Osa & Golfito Initiative, "INOGO", is an international collaborative effort to develop a strategy for sustainable human development and environmental stewardship in the Osa and Golfito Cantons of Costa Rica. The effort's core is a collaboration between people and institutions in the US and Costa Rica, facilitated by the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University.
INOGO is designed to build on the many previous efforts in the region, working hand in hand with Costa Ricans in local communities, in the public and private sector, and with NGOs to create a shared vision and long-term strategic plan for a sustainable future for the Osa and Golfito region. The project integrates the sociocultural dimensions of the Osa and Golfito region with both its marine and terrestrial ecosystems.
Rather than simply producing new studies and reports, the goal of this initiative is to generate a living process for sustainable development lead by Costa Ricans, especially the people from Osa and Golfito. It also aims to provide information and products that will be useful to stakeholders in the region for their ongoing decision-making processes.
INOGO is concurrently working on three components:
- A process of listening and consultation with stakeholders at the local, regional, and national levels via an ongoing presence in the region;
- An analysis of existing resources, needs and opportunities for the region's sustainable development, including key actors and potential financial resources;
- The interactive co-development with stakeholders of scenarios depicting possible alternative futures for the region.
These three components are designed to contribute to the project's final goal, which is a long-term, actionable strategy for the region's well being.
Listening and consulting with stakeholders
INOGO aims to facilitate a democratic, participatory process that engages actors at the local, regional and national levels. Throughout the initiative, INOGO will work to make sure that the local communities' concerns, aspirations and needs are heard, in particular those relevant for a more positive future, where families have a chance to improve their quality of life in a healthy social and natural surrounding. INOGO personnel, some of them from the local communities, will have ongoing presence in the region. This ongoing presence will allow for casual conversations with the local people, the dissemination of information about the initiative, the gathering relevant information and the opportunity to encourage local participation.
Analysis of resources, needs and opportunities for the region's sustainable development
INOGO embraces the wealth of valuable information about this region produced by decades of previous projects and strategic plans. INOGO team members are working to integrate, synthesize and complete this record of information for the region, which is now available on our INOGO Document Library.
In addition, team members are working on an inventory of resources, needs and opportunities for diverse communities in the region. These diagnostic analyses, loosely divided into subcategories of human communities, health, education, economic, political/institutional, and ecological data (both marine and terrestrial), will help identify pathways for sustainable human development in the region.
Alternative Futures Scenarios
INOGO's third component is the development of scenarios depicting alternative futures for the region. These scenarios are based on a participatory process, in which local stakeholders identify priorities for the future and then choose different combinations of factors to be modeled. The resulting models allow INOGO to make visual representations of future impacts (social, economic, and ecological) of decisions facing the region today. While models cannot forecast the future with precise detail due to the many variables in play, they are a useful tool for envisioning and evaluating alternative paths to a more sustainable future.
Future scenarios for the Osa-Golfito region are being developed by the firm GeoAdaptive in collaboration with the INOGO team. The scenario development process is iterative, local and participatory, allowing community knowledge and resources to be integrated with technical data into models of future change. In this way, INOGO's goal is to increase transparency, decentralize procedures and increase the accountability of both technical and local groups. It is anticipated that there will be two or three rounds of consultation in the scenario building and refinement.
Throughout 2012, the scenario development process followed the following steps:
- Using the information collected through other parts of INOGO, the topics and issues that should be incorporated into the scenario work were assessed;
- "Draft" scenarios were created, representing two possible scenarios: a “Business as Usual” scenario and a “Rapid Growth” scenario
- These two scenarios were shared with stakeholders in June of 2012, and stakeholders provided feedback on the first two scenarios;
- Feedback from stakeholders was incorporated into the process to make changes to the Business as Usual and Rapid Growth Scenarios;
- A third scenario, called the “Preferred Scenario”, was created to reflect the future which stakeholders most desire for their region;
- All three revised scenarios were presented to stakeholders in November 2012. Ongoing distribution of these scenarios in the region is ongoing
- In the spring of 2013, the scenarios will be evaluated to further explore anticipated impacts;
- In mid 2013 the final scenarios will be presented.
In order to generate useful scenarios, the many conditions that influence the sustainability of a region must be considered, whether biophysical, cultural, institutional, social, historic or economic. In the Osa and Golfito cantons, one must also bear in mind possible developments such as the proposed international airport in Palmar Sur, the Diquis Dam, the potential for mass tourism and/or second home development and increased oil palm production. Different combinations of these conditions will be evaluated in three or four different future scenarios.
The alternative futures scenarios will be tools that stakeholders can use to engage in decision making about the region's future. If you would like to learn more about the scenarios and how this can be used to stimulate discussion, please contact INOGO.
Anticipated Products of INOGO
The diverse components of INOGO described above will come together in mid 2013 in an actionable strategic plan for the Osa and Golfito cantons. In this strategy INOGO seeks to provide tools to facilitate ongoing efforts by local community organizations, NGOs, public institutions and others working to improve the well-being of human populations in the region while also ensuring the long-term health of the region's primary resource base in the marine and terrestrial ecosystems.
The strategy will incorporate the knowledge gained through the synthesis of existing information, the local consultations, and the scenario development process to propose key actions for the future benefit of the human populations and natural resources of the region. It aims also to identify potential key actors and financial resources to implement the proposed actions.
Additional Products of INOGO
In addition to the identification of opportunities, future scenarios, and the long-term strategy, INOGO aims to produce the following materials:
A number of current issues may heavily impact the Osa and Golfito region. INOGO will focus on these issues in a series of detailed, objective, analytical case studies.
- The demand for the proposed international airport in Palmar Sur;
- The impact of the proposed Diquis Dam on the Terraba Sierpe Wetlands and the marine life of the region;
- The Identification of Viable Sustainable Production Activities for the Inhabitants of the Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve
INOGO expects to deliver tangible products while the initiative is under development and even after the long-term strategy has been presented. This can be a variety of deliverables ranging from articles to white papers, local presentations, booklets, etc., which address a variety of aspects regarding the local, national (and even global) significance of the Osa and Golfito region. These deliverables and others will offer concrete, specific recommendations for how to improve both human and environmental wellbeing in the region. If you are interested in collaborating with INOGO on the dissemination of information of high importance to you or your organization, please contact INOGO.