Costa Rica is now first Central American country to receive funds from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) for its successful results in reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). In November, the GCF approved $54.1 million US in non-reimbursable funds for Costa Rica under the modality of REDD+ Results-based Payments and within the framework of climate financing of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The transfer recognizes 14.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide captured through the country's forests in a one year period, from 2014 to 2015.
Furthermore, the transfer recognizes the efforts made by Costa Rica to respond to the climate crisis and provides funds so the country can continue with its successful public policies. The Result-Based Payments will directly benefit thousands of Costa Ricans over the next five years, with implementation through the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE). The funds will:
- strengthen the existing Payment for Environmental Services (PES) scheme;
- expand the PES scheme in Indigenous territories;
- and, strengthen forest fire prevention measures in rural communities through the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC).
The national PES program has also now become an important mechanism to transfer much-needed cash resources directly to impoverished groups to support the COVID-19 recovery phase.
"The protection of the environment becomes a source of wealth that improves the quality of life of the people of our country. It benefits the generation of jobs in the communities, and it takes us at a good pace towards our goal of being a decarbonized country by 2050,” said Carlos Alvarado, President of Costa Rica.
After decades of continuous forest loss, Costa Rica managed to halt and reverse the rate of deforestation in the 1980s, in part due to successful programs like the PES. Today, thanks to the implementation of public policies and actions aimed at recognizing the importance of forests, it has a forest cover of about 52%, protects more than a quarter of its territory and is home to 6% of the planet’s biodiversity.
“Once again, Costa Rica shows the world that environmental sustainability is economically viable and socially inclusive. It fills us with joy to be able to support the mobilization of important resources and thus, move forward on the path of decoupling the financing of environmental protection from those fiscal revenues that come from carbon consumption,” said José Vicente Troya Rodríguez, UNDP Resident Representative in Costa Rica.
Costa Rica’s achievement represents a significant milestone by an early partner country with the UN-REDD Programme. Since 2013, Costa Rica has received targeted support and technical assistance from the UN-REDD Programme, support that has contributed to the country’s completion of eligibility requirements for REDD+ RBPs.
UNDP is acting as the Accredited Entity responsible for supporting Costa Rica in its implementation of the GCF RBP project over the next five years.