Costa Rica and World Bank sign US$60 million agreement to boost emission reductions through forest conservation

San José: Costa Rica has signed an innovative agreement with the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) that will reward local communities and other stakeholders for their efforts in reducing carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (known as REDD+). Under the Emission Reductions Payment Agreement (ERPA), the FCPF commits up to US$60 million to purchase verified reductions of 12 million tons of CO2 emissions achieved until 2025 through Costa Rica’s emission reductions program.

“Costa Rica has a decades-long tradition of protecting the environment with green jobs, built upon successful forestry and biodiversity laws, policies, and programs. Our conservation efforts have preserved our ecosystems while providing livelihoods for our citizens,” said Andrea Meza, Costa Rica’s Minister of Environment and Energy. “This agreement offers new incentives that will help broaden stakeholder participation, particularly in rural communities where forests are a key economic engine, achieve a more productive approach to forestry, and strengthen monitoring and agency coordination.”

Costa Rica’s Emission Reductions Program aims to increase the nationwide impact of public policies that have worked over the last 30 years to protect the country’s forest landscapes—which stretch across more than half of Costa Rica’s 5.1 million hectares. This includes strengthening the governance of national protected areas, which cover 26 percent of the country’s territory, and expanding national programs for sustainable forest management, fire management, and landscape restoration. It also aims to expand the country’s Payment for Environmental Services program, which provides incentives to farmers or landowners in exchange for managing their land to provide an ecological service, to promote more forest conservation and carbon stock enhancement through reforestation, tree plantations, agroforestry, and silvopastoral systems.

A key goal of the program is increasing participation of both public and private stakeholders, including Indigenous Peoples and women living in poor, rural communities. Helping to shape this effort is Costa Rica’s REDD+ Strategy Gender Action Plan, which provides a clear path for channeling financial resources and technical assistance to empower and support women. A benefit-sharing plan indicates how stakeholders will be rewarded for sustainably managing productive forests and reducing emissions.

“Costa Rica continues to serve as a model for social inclusion and natural resource management, taking its policies and practices to the next level to ensure everyone can meaningfully contribute to and benefit from the country’s low-carbon, inclusive growth,” said Oscar Avalle, the World Bank Country Manager for Costa Rica and El Salvador. “Costa Rica is committed to sustainably managing its abundant natural assets, and this agreement will bring in important ‘green’ support as the country looks to a resilient economic recovery from the current pandemic in the years ahead.”

Following Chile, Costa Rica is the second country in Latin America and the Caribbean (and eighth worldwide) to sign an ERPA with the FCPF. Several other countries are expected to finalize their emission reductions programs and follow suit with ERPA signings by early 2021.

The World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) is a global partnership of governments, businesses, civil society, and Indigenous Peoples’ organizations focused on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, forest carbon stock conservation, the sustainable management of forests, and the enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries, activities commonly referred to as REDD+. Launched in 2008, the FCPF has worked with 47 developing countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean, along with 17 donors that have made contributions and commitments totaling $1.3 billion.