Coastal Conflicts in Costa Rica and the Territorios Costeros Comunitarios Law Project (TECOCOS)

by Kevin Haddock (September 2012)

This work aims to contribute to the debate on social conflicts generated by coastal development and the process of land tenure reform as a conflict resolution mechanism. We will present the case of the Territorios Costeros Comunitarios reform movement (TECOCOS) currently mobilized in Costa Rica and integrated by over 60 coastal communities.

This reform movement initiated in reaction to a recent wave of planned evictions threatening specific coastal communities on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, following a decade of aggressive coastal tourism development. The TECOCOS movement has produced two historic law projects that are currently in the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica.

Since the majority of the social conflicts on the coasts of Costa Rica find their roots in the legal and regulatory framework (which includes the coastal land tenure system) and tourism policies, this thesis will attempt to demonstrate how the legal and institutional arrangements as well as the international trends in the tourism industry have led to unsustainable coastal development triggering the creation of a unified front of coastal communities demanding for social change and the recognition of their economic, social and cultural rights.

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