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Costa Rica’s Minister for the Pacific and Environment from the UK visits Costa Rica for the first time since COP26

Costa Rica’s Minister for the Pacific and Environment from the UK visits Costa Rica for the first time since COP26

Lord Goldsmith’s visit to Costa Rica ended on 27 January. He celebrated the pioneering work of Costa Ricans on climate and the environment and developed a close partnership between the two countries, just weeks after the UK hosted UN climate talks.

Lord Goldsmith and Andrea Meza (Environment Minister) travelled throughout the country to see some the scaleable work being done.

They visited farms, national parks and research centres, as well as visiting indigenous peoples.

They saw the positive effects of bringing Costa Rica’s decarbonisation plan to fruition with an ambitious transport electrification program, building on the success of running the country using over 98% renewable energy for seven years consecutively.

Lord Goldsmith learned about Costa Rica’s Natural Asset Company initiative. This innovative financial mechanism will encourage conservation and sustainable use of land.

Costa Rica is home to 25% of the world’s biodiversity. The country is home to 5% of the world’s biodiversity, covering 0.03% of the earth’s landmass. More than half of Costa Rica is protected as a result of a national campaign that aims to double the amount of rainforest within a generation.

Lord Goldsmith thanked President Alvarado for expanding the Cocos Island National Park. This made Costa Rica the first country in the world that protects 30% of its waters.

Costa Rica was also featured at COP26 alongside Ecuador, Panama, Colombia, and Panama. The four countries announced they were now working together to preserve some of the most important and biodiverse marine environments in the Eastern Pacific Tropical Marine Corridor. This area will be the largest transboundary marine protected areas in the world.

Lord Goldsmith thanked them for their leadership and announced that the UK will contribute an initial 2m to the Blue Planet Fund. Funded through UK Aid, the fund draws on decades-old experience gained from the Blue Belt which protects an area larger than India around UK Overseas Territories.

Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado thanked Britain for their support and stated:

We must continue to take action to protect our planet and, in this case, the oceans. Protecting nature’s health is a crucial step in combating climate changes. Healthy oceans are essential for protecting hundreds of marine species that are critical for ecosystems as well as for the people living in this region.

Costa Rica continues to work with the UK in the year of the COP26 Presidency, building on months of cooperation before the conference in Glasgow and during negotiations behind-the scenes.

The UK and Costa Rica ask the world to commit to ambitious goals that will help the natural world get back on track during this decade, just before the CBD COP15 UN biodiversity conference.

The UK and Costa Rica are co-leaders in global alliances dedicated to significantly increasing protection for the world’s land, ocean, and resources. They now represent 120 countries, almost a third the world’s population, and more than 40% of global GDP.

Together with France, the UK and Costa Rica, the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People campaigns for the protection at least 30% of the planet’s land and sea by 2030.

Zac Goldsmith (UK Minister for the Pacific and Environment) stated:

It was a privilege to witness Costa Rica’s incredible natural beauty from the Osa Peninsula to Sarapiqu. It is a national pride.
At COP26, in Glasgow, it was Costa Rica’s leadership that helped the UK presidency bring climate change from the margins to the center of the conversation.

I am happy to note that 141 countries signed the Glasgow commitment by halting forest loss and land degradation by 2030. This includes Costa Rica, which represents over 90% of the world’s forest coverage.

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1.5 billion was committed by the UK to support countries’ efforts to restore and protect their forests and empower their local communities.

Costa Rica will tap into the Lowering Emissions by Accerating Forest Finance coalition, which has already mobilised $1billion including 200m from the UK.

The UK will provide a first 2m in scientific and technical assistance through its new Blue Planet Fund to assist Costa Rica, Colombia and Ecuador in expanding and connecting marine protection over more than 500,000 km2 of ocean within the Eastern Tropical Marine Corridor. This includes key migratory routes of sea turtles and sharks.

Our age is marked by the need to reconcile our lives, our economies, and the natural world around them. I am glad that the UK has been working with Costa Rica and other leading countries to do that.

Costa Rican Environment Minister, Andrea Meza, said:

Minister Goldsmiths visits have allowed us to show Costa Rica’s efforts to make nature part its development model and the importance of protected areas. Visits to indigenous peoples help us understand their role, how we can benefit from protecting nature, and what the most pressing needs are that we must address.

Similar results can be seen with the Payment for Environmental Services program. This shows how important it is for these families that this resource mobilisation continues to enable them to implement strategies to diversify income and adopt more sustainable production practices.
We are very grateful to have a strategic partnership like the UK.

Minister Meza and Lord Goldsmith addressed the Forum of Ministers for Environment of Latin America on 27 January. They urged leaders from all sectors and government to come together to accelerate the transition to a decarbonised, zero-carbon, sustainable global economy.

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