Conservation International Suriname was established as a foundation under Surinamese law on 29 December 1992 and officially registered on 18 January 1993. In the last 20 years CI-Suriname has worked to spur on green development in the country and in the region.
Tribal Knowledge and Medicinal Plants
Our earliest projects focused on generating income from tribal knowledge and medicinal plants. The project – International Cooperative Biodiversity Groups - broke new ground on intellectual property rights and supported community development and additions to Suriname’s national botanical inventory.
Central Suriname Nature Reserve
Our further achievements include signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Suriname in 1998. This was done to create the 1.6 million ha Central Suriname Nature Reserve and to develop a management plan and set up a trust fund to ensure maintenance of the Reserve. The Reserve was swiftly created in six months and recognized as a World Heritage Site in 2000. The Suriname Conservation Foundation was officially established in 2000 as the fund for the Reserve, with CI, the Global Environment Facility, and the Government of Suriname as its major funders.
In 2000, CI led the design of Suriname’s ecotourism development plan. Ecotourism has grown to be the third largest foreign income exchange earner in the country. Between 2000 and 2007 we also carried out projects at Raleighvallen in the Central Suriname Natural Reserve, aimed at developing the site as a model for niche-market ecotourism. Between 2006 and 2008, together with the Trio tribe of Kwamalasamutu, we also developed the first community-owned and managed lodge in Suriname in an 18,000 ha sanctuary, which we helped the Trio to create around the sacred petroglyph caves of Werehpai. The caves were discovered in 2000 by Kamanja Paneshekung, a member of the community and one of our fieldworkers at Kwamalasamutu.