Costa Rica has set itself the aim of becoming carbon neutral by 2021. As a result, it is committed to adopting policies sustainably and over the long-term that will help reduce emissions. This politically ambitious goal requires making a tremendous effort as well as using demanding, innovative approaches – particularly as emissions in key sectors are currently on the rise. The country can use the experience it has gleaned from the process of becoming a low emission country to usefully inform regional and international strategy discussions on low carbon development. The PSA programme (Payment for Environmental Services) is a successful example of a mechanism that recognises the monetary value of ecosystem services. The country has a worldwide unique percentage of protected areas (26% of its territory and a total forest cover of 52.3%), and through its focus on establishing a service economy, it has taken the first steps toward decoupling its economic development from an equivalent growth of GHG emissions.
The project "Low Emission Development Costa Rica – Supporting the national climate neutrality strategy (Phase II)" is funded by German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) in the framework of its International Climate Initiative (ICI) and implemented by GIZ. It aims to help the Government of Costa Rica develop the necessary capacities and instruments for climate-friendly governance to implement its National Climate Change Strategy (Estrategia Nacional de Cambio Climatico, ENCC), achieve and update its National Determined Contribution (NDC) and to promote a long-term low-emission development. The second phase of the project focuses on the creation of an improved structure for the national climate governance, a closely related national climate monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) system, the provision of climate financing mechanisms as well as national and international knowledge exchange. The Costa Rican experience in the NDC implementation on the road to low-emission economic development (co-benefits) should be pro-actively integrated into the regional and global dialogue.