Why is everyone looking in the direction of Costa Rica? During Cop26, celebrities from Leonardo DiCaprio to Jeff Bezos, Boris Johnson and Prince William were interested in talking to Carlos Alvarado Kesada, the president of the tiny Central American state, who has managed to “practically”
A tiny country at the wheel
To be precise, Costa Rica was the only tropical state to participate in the conference, which managed not only to stop but also to reverse deforestation of its forests, an achievement from which most participants abstained and are far from parasanga.
The country, which like Greece celebrated its 200th anniversary of independence this year, aims to completely dismantle its carbon footprint by 2050 – not just carbon neutrality – and is at the helm of global 30% protection efforts. of the Earth by the end of the decade.
Kesada gave an interview to the Guardian talking about his country’s successes3, but also warning that the rest of the world can not adopt its example without introducing their own conversions.
Inspiration, not copying
“The Costa Rican example should not be taken literally. You should get what we have good, but also adapt it to the local data. “Our example simply shows that there is the possibility of change, not necessarily of the same changes that we implemented,” he explained. “We have seen the planet make global decisions in Glasgow, but we must not be carried away by the idea that the same solution will be suitable for everyone.”
Among other things, Costa Rica pays payments to citizens who protect forests and help rebuild ecosystems. This program is considered to have contributed to the reversal of deforestation in the country, which until then was in the worst places on the planet. At the same time, the country has shifted the cost of deforestation to coffee, banana and pineapple crops, recognizing that forests are more valuable when they are alive than they are when they die. This policy also led to the flourishing of ecotourism in the region.
The green country that wants to become… blue
But Kesada, whose presidency is coming to an end, does not want to stop there. He acknowledged that Costa Rica was green, but stressed that it was not “blue” yet, referring to his announcement to Cop26 that his country would be involved in an extensive new maritime protection program. the greater the moral and political gain of those who decide to follow it. “This is our approach,” he said.
In Glasgow, Denmark and Costa Rica presented the “Alliance Beyond Oil and Gas” (Boga) with the aim of accelerating the end of the fossil fuel industry, which attracted the interest of the international media. Although the initiative has been launched by a small group of states that have already pledged to stop using solid fuels altogether, there are hopes that this alliance will eventually translate into global change.
Environmental education and national unity
Andrea Meza, the country’s environment minister who took part in Boga’s announcement, said the moment her country won a global award for its environmental action was “a moment of national unity, reminiscent of a football victory”. He told the Guardian the importance of combining the natural value of nature with the economic realities of ensuring its protection, combined with the environmental education of all citizens.
“What the Costa Rican example has taught us is that Nature must become part of your growth model. Development is not one issue and nature protection is another. You have to understand that Nature should be part of the development you desire. “We have understood that,” he said.
“After two generations, one can now see the changes. We can see the different species: the sluggard, the songbird – and feel proud. “