Costa Rica has received a 2019 Champions of the Earth award
Costa Rica has received a 2019 Champions of the Earth award, the UN’s highest environmental honour
In 1948, Costa Rica experienced its bloodiest social and political episode in its history with the so-called War of 48 or the Conflict of 48. Beacuse of the great world economic depression due to the World War II, Costa Rica was no stranger to the results of such a tragic event experiencing the poverty and social discontent of those days. It was common and courageous men who initiated a process of change in Costa Rica. After the period of Civil War that lasted 44 days approximately, the Government Board was formed and with it there were important social reforms that always sought the common welfare of the Costa Rican population. The vision of these leaders was to think about the education of the population in order to improve of the local economy, strengthening government institutions and the entire economic system.
In the 70s, the network of national parks was created, which covered 20% of the National Territory. With the arrival to the presidency of Mr. Rodrigo Carazo, he visualizes the natural potential of the country and initiates projects to declare national parks in different areas, the most important being Cocos Island, a heritage of the huminity and declared the most beautiful island on the planet.
Ecological-economic value of protected areas
In addition to having a fundamental value in maintaining life on earth at all hierarchical scales, protected areas also provide raw material, food, water, recreational opportunities and microclimate control for free. In Costa Rica, the existence of these protected areas has been used for tourism (national and international), recreation, education, research, training, watershed protection thanks to natural vegetation and for the preservation of biodiversity, and, next to this the genetic material since 5% of all the biological diversity of the Earth is in our country.
Debt swaps by nature
During the 80s, several factors that affected Central America forced the countries of this region to seek loans to pay interest on debts they already had pending until these interests became unpayable, after this the idea was born of buying the third world debt at a reduced value and paying it at the true nominal value, in local currency, later investing it in conservation projects. Between 1987 and 1989 Costa Rica became part of its external commercial debt in this type of conservation bonds, becoming the number one country in the world in relation to transactions of this nature. The funds were used to finance their national parks and protected areas, the strengthening of public and private conservation institutions, environmental education, ecotourism, sustainable forest management and the acquisition of land for the expansion of parks. Several parks have benefited greatly from debt swaps by nature, particularly Corcovado, Guanacaste, La Amistad, Braulio Carrillo,and Tortuguero, as well as the private Monte Verde cloud forest reserve and the La Pacifica ecological center. Although these swaps have only been able to cover 5% of the external debt, they have benefited greatly from conserving biodiversity and strengthening national conservation institutions.
Nowdays, Costa Rica boosts the 30% + of the land under protected areas: Public and Private. Efforts from different local and worldwide organizations are helping the 1948´s plan-vision. Today, Costa Rica is a world leader in the protection of nature and claims to the world the few efforts that occur in the rest of the planet. Agreements such as the one in Paris have been insufficient and, rather, it seems that they have put aside the obligation to protect the worldwide population.
Currently, at the UN Costa Rica requires the creation of a global coalition for the protection of 30% of the planet. Very risky but also with the need for a 180 degrees change of the regular ways of thinkng regarding mother earth.
Let's shake hands, support the initiative and do our best for Mother Nature!