Costa Rica will invest $54 million in climate action thanks to the conservation of its forests
San José: Thanks to the conservation of its forests, Costa Rica will invest $54 million over the next five years from the Green Climate Fund (GCF), which last November recognized 14.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide captured in 2014 and 2015 by the country’s forests.
The resources will be executed by the REDD+ Results-Based Payments project, led by the Costa Rican Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), which was officially launched today with the participation of the President of the Republic, Carlos Alvarado; the Minister of Environment and Energy, Andrea Meza; the UNDP Resident Representative in Costa Rica, José Vicente Troya; the UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner; the Executive Director of the Green Climate Fund, Yannick Glemarec; the President of the Defensores del Bosque organization, from Talamanca, Maricela Fernández, and Francisco Morales, President of the Talamanca Cabécar Development Association.
The GCF funds -whose mobilization was supported by UNDP- will focus on three areas: strengthening the existing Payment for Environmental Services (PES) scheme; expanding PES coverage in indigenous territories; and strengthening forest fire prevention measures in rural communities and ensuring the application of environmental and social safeguards provisions.
“Is one of the reasons why the country has managed to reverse deforestation and increase forest cover significantly. It is one of the few countries in the world that has done so. In the 1980s, Costa Rica had lost most of its primary forest and had only 21% of its land covered by forest as a result of having the highest deforestation rates in the world. Today, the country has 52% forest cover and protects more than a quarter of its territory,” said the President of the Republic, Carlos Alvarado referring to the PES.
For the past 25 years, Costa Rica has maintained a PES scheme with an investment of more than ¢15 billion per year. With the actions of the strategy and the REDD+ Results-Based Payments Project, the protection and sustainable management of forests will be expanded in more than 500,000 ha of private forests, including approximately 150,000 ha in Indigenous Territories.
“This is a historic moment: the culmination of incredible efforts by communities across Costa Rica to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with deforestation, making the country a huge “carbon sink,” said UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner.
Of the total resources, US$41 million will be transferred to inhabitants of the country’s forested areas, where some of the most marginalized districts with the lowest social development index are located, such as the coastal regions and forested areas in general.
The project will improve and expand public policies related to the implementation of Costa Rica’s Forestry Law, climate action, conservation and empowerment of rural women, youth and indigenous peoples over the next five years.
“This project demonstrates that it is possible to address the climate crisis and at the same time support vulnerable communities to build sustainable livelihoods, reduce poverty and promote gender equality”, emphasized Yannick Glemarec, Executive Director of the Green Climate Fund.
The project will specifically contribute to maintain the reduction of emissions from deforestation and degradation at a level of 6 million tons of CO2 equivalent per year until 2024. An will bring relief to the country’s successful PES scheme, following budget cuts due to the public finance situation, as well as the reduction in fuel tax collection, which represents 93% of the annual revenues of this FONAFIFO-led program.