Historical background

At the end of the 1980s, it became clear that Costa Rica needed a national institution whose priority would be to gather knowledge on the country’s biological diversity, its conservation and its sustainable use.

As a result, Executive Decree No. 19153, of June 5 1989, established the Planning Commission for the National Institute of Biodiversity, a body consisting of representatives from various governmental institutions, higher education centers and non-governmental conservation organizations.

The Commission advised the Costa Rican government to create a state biodiversity institute with a high degree of autonomy. However, given the political difficulties involved and the limited viability of the proposal, the government was unable to implement this recommendation. Faced with this situation, the commission members themselves decided to put their idea into practice and created a private, non-profit association. The initiative received official backing and, since then, successive governments have supported the institution’s activities.

Then began an intense process to find sources of financing. In addition to a loan for approximately 80 million colones, the emerging institution also received funds from the Swedish Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and a generous donation from the MacArthur Foundation of the United States to support its development.

On October 26 of that year, a small group of people met in a warehouse that was in the process of being remodeled, located on a plot of land in Santo Domingo de Heredia, to celebrate the granting of legal status to the Association Instituto Nacional de Biodiversdad. INBio had been born.

Founding Members of the Association Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (National Institute of Biodiversity)
Oscar Castro Castillo
Danilo Elizondo Cerdas
Rodrigo Gámez Lobo
Luis Diego Gómez Pignataro
Luko Hilje Quirós
Carlos Valerio Gutiérrez
Daniel Janzen Foster
Jorge León Arguedas
Sergio Salas Durán
Álvaro Sancho Castro
Ricardo Soto Soto

More information at:


Firma del acta constitutiva de INBio

Entrega del acta

View of the warehouse used to store farm machinery that was converted into INBio’s headquarters at the end of 1989.

Facade of INBio’s current headquarters.

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