Coiba Island is the site of one of Panama’s most highly prized national parks.
Panamanian conservation groups are questioning government plans to rebuild an aged airstrip on Coiba island, site of one of the country’s most highly prized national parks, arguing that more study of potential environmental impacts must be done than has been conducted to date. Since mid-August, debate has escalated between local environmental groups and the country’s Environment Ministry (MiAMBIENTE) about effects the project might have on the 503-square-kilometer (194-sq-mile) island’s ecosystem. Green groups also worry the project might presage tourism development in the species-rich park, located in the Pacific 22 kilometers (14 miles) off Panama’s mainland. The Environment Ministry, led by Minister Emilio Sempris, says it is time to repair the island’s landing strip in order to improve monitoring and security. But conservation groups such as Panama’s Environmental Advocacy Center (CIAM) and MarViva Foundation argue that the government must conduct a more detailed impact assessment... [Log in to read more]