The use of transboundary conservation as tools for improving interstate relations has become a widely supported initiative in nature conservation.
The International System of Protected Areas for Peace (Si-A-Paz) is a transboundary protected area shared by Costa Rica and Nicaragua. In recent years, both countries have been involved in a number of border conflicts within Si-A-Paz and linked to the use of the San Juan River, contested land areas, and oil resources.
The case of Si-A-Paz shows that transboundary environmental issues can provide arguments for maintaining or even strengthening conflicts rather than fostering peace between states. The case also shows the emergence of environmental issues as a new arena for geopolitical play, where actors not only justify their actions through an environmental discourse but also, the environmental discourse is stretched to include a variety of issues through which actors can obtain international support. The events in Nicaragua and Costa Rica raise questions about the role of transboundary conservation as a peacebuilding tool.