Located in the curve of land between Nicaragua and Panama, Costa Rica is a place where jaguars still haunt the forests and endangered sea turtles lay their eggs in nests of sand on pristine beaches. Covering less than one-tenth of 1 percent of Earth’s surface, Costa Rica still hosts as much as 5 percent of the world’s biodiversity.
Unfortunately, across the country, overfishing, unregulated tourism, development, colonization, logging and clearing of land for subsistence farms are contributing to loss of forests, water pollution, sedimentation of rivers, die-off of coral reefs and the depletion of marine catch.
Costa Rica’s current marine protected areas are inadequate to support its collapsing fisheries and its national parks suffer from insufficient and uncertain financing. Fortunately, Costa Rica, led by President Oscar Arias, is a pioneering country with a vision that could change the face of global conservation forever.
A Future and a Hope
In 1987, President Arias helped to protect the future of the people of Costa Rica and won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work bringing stability and peace to once strife-torn Central
America. Now, he has turned his attention to another threat to the future of his people: the dangers of environmental degradation. As Costa Rica continues to develop, President Arias has recognized that his country must be able to sustain its lands and waters and make peace with nature.
To secure the health of its lands and waters and the future of its people, Costa Rica aspires to become the first developing country in the world to:
- establish a complete, sustainably managed and permanently financed protected areas system; and
- create an integrated system of protected areas and management strategies to address the challenges of Climate Change.
Costa Rica’s protected areas “gap” is principally in marine protected areas. Forever Costa Rica will double the country’s marine protected areas system, establish an independent trust to provide long term support to this expansion and manage marine and terrestrial protected areas.
Under the terms of the pending agreement with the Costa Rican government, $50 million of external private and public funding will be placed in a permanent trust, leveraging the Costa Rican government’s ongoing funding of $19 million annually, thus sustaining long-term funding for protected areas.
The private funds are necessary to capitalize the trust to ensure adequate, long-term funding for parks and protected areas in Costa Rica. Through a simultaneous closing and new independent fund, we will create a permanent financing mechanism for protected areas.
How You Can Help
Please join other donors who are helping Costa Rica reach its border-to-border conservation goals.