Protecting the nature we all rely on for food, fresh water and livelihoods
Conservation International Suriname Office

About Conservation International Suriname

© Renè Ockhuijsen

Conservation International is an environmental organization that has worked in Suriname for the last 25 years, and 30 years internationally in 40 countries to protect nature for the benefit of people

Vision​

We imagine a healthy, prosperous world in which societies are forever committed to caring for and valuing nature, for the long-term benefit of people and all life on Earth.​

​Mission​

Building upon a strong foundation of science, partnership and field demonstration, Conservation International empowers societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature, our global biodiversity, for the well-being of humanity.​

​Our values

As we pursue our vision and mission, we are guided by these essential and timeless values:

  • Passion - We are passionate about nature and cherish the diversity of life from the sea bottoms to the mountain peaks.
  • Respect - We respect and trust each other, and we embrace the diversity of our cultures, talents, and experiences.
  • Integrity - We make every decision with integrity and are accountable for the choices we make.
  • Optimism - We are optimistic that life on Earth can be preserved and that with our partners we will witness unprecedented successes in conservation.
  • Courage - We have the courage to take bold action in the face of naysayers and critics, persevere through challenging times, and pursue our vision tirelessly and with enthusiasm.
  • Teamwork - We rely on teamwork, recognizing that openness, collaboration and cooperation are fundamental to achieving a healthy and prosperous world for all.

Our history

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 Conservation International-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 Conservation International, the Global Environment Facility, and the Government of Suriname as its major funders.

Ecotourism

In 2000, Conservation International 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.​

Our team

John Goedschalk
Executive Director

Sheila Marhé
Science and Policy Director

Raoul Tjon-Jaw-Chong
Operations Director

Loes Trustfull
Communications & Development Manager

Krisna Gajapersad
Technical Manager

Eunike Alexander - Misiekaba
Technical Manager

Els van Lavieren
Technical Manager

Soraya Wijntuin
Technical Officer

Shiralynn Hirosemito
Technical Officer

Ivor Balsemhof
Technical Coordinator

Joyl Baker
Technical Officer

Cindy Rickets
Finance Manager

Trisha Sookdeo
Accountant

Erlyn Power
Project Manager SSCC

Leatitia Peant
Communications & Development Coordinator

Yvette Gonsalves
General Services Coordinator

Remesa Lang
Communications Assistant