Costa Rica is prioritizing terrestrial restoration and marine conservation goals

The government of Costa Rica and the Post 2020 Biodiversity Framework – EU support project joins forces to support the country's marine restoration and conservation objectives.
Costa Rican environmental institutions and organizations entered into a period of study to establish the country's priorities in terrestrial environmental restoration and marine conservation.  This is made possible thanks to the joint work between the Conservation Areas System (SINAC), our project, funded by the European Union and implemented by Expertise France and the Costa Rica Por Siempre Fundation.


This collaboration takes advantage of Costa Rica’s leading role in the implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) newly adopted at COP15 last December. The expected results will serve as an inspiring example to other nations in their own agendas in implementing their international biodiversity commitments.

The aim of this joint work is to establish the most effective strategies to bring Costa Rica closer to the GBF international commitments through a series of technical workshops involving various scientific, academic, institutional and civil society actors.

A geographic prioritization process for terrestrial ecosystem restoration is being pursued to identify the sites with the greatest restoration potential, based on potential costs and benefits. Once the restoration challenges have been identified, funding options for implementing these actions will be identified.

As second axis seeks to analyze the country’s coastal, marine, and oceanic conservation gaps in a participatory manner. Costa Rica currently has a fairly broad coverage of conserved marine areas; however, there is no guarantee that those areas are qualitatively representative of all marine ecosystems present on the national territory. Once the conservation gaps have been assessed, options for the governance of the identified areas will be explored.

As Rafael Gutierrez, Vice Minister of Environment (MINAE) and Executive Director of the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC), points out: “This project seeks to prioritize actions for the recovery and conservation of the country’s terrestrial and marine ecosystems, scientifically evaluating our biodiversity and subsequently, executing actions that will allow us to see, in the short and medium term, effective results in their recovery.”

Mr. Gutiérrez also acknowledges the value of this collaboration: “We thank the European Union and the International Technical Cooperation Agency Expertise France, who drive to carry out this prioritization process, through financial and technical support, and in which we will be pleased to jointly present part of these results during COP15.”

Maria Antonia Calvo Puerta, Ambassador of the European Union in Costa Rica, notes that “In the context of the definition of a new global framework for biodiversity, the European Union is pleased to support Costa Rica, a partner that shares our high ambition to implement concrete and strategic actions that create enabling conditions for the recovery and conservation of the country’s terrestrial and marine ecosystems”.

The first workshops of this project took place in November. Subsequently, several participatory meetings are being organized until a prioritization system for terrestrial areas to be restored is elaborated and validated. A proposal to increase the representativeness of marine areas to be conserved will be also developed and approved early 2023. The systematization of this process is led by a group of Costa Rican experts contracted by Expertise France.

Costa Rica presented, through SINAC, the progress of this prioritization process at a side-event during COP15 in Montreal.

As a reminder of Costa Rica’s leading role, the country is the first tropical country to have halted and reversed deforestation, raising its forest cover from 21% in 1987 to 52.7% today. It has committed to achieving a 60% forest cover restoration target for the United Nations Decade of Ecosystem Restoration.

Costa Rica also inspired the Global Biodiversity Framework target to ensure that at least 20% of degraded freshwater, marine and terrestrial ecosystems are under restoration, ensuring connectivity between them and focusing on priority ecosystems by 2030.

In the area of marine and ocean conservation, Costa Rica has supported the 30×30 initiative to support the global goal of protecting at least 30% of the oceans under Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures (OEACM) by 2030.

As a conclusion, “This initiative is of vital importance for our project to demonstrate through Costa Rica’s high ambition and commitment that it is feasible and realistic to implement an ambitious and transformative new global framework for biodiversity.” emphasizes Hugo Rivera Mendoza, team leader of our project.

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