No. 6 December 1994

Costa Rica's Action Plan on Climate Change

A new collaboration between Costa Rica Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mines (MIRENEM) and UCCEE

by Joel Swisher, UNEP Centre

The Costa Rican government is in the early stages of developing an ambitious plan for a "transition to sustainability". This plan will be designed during the remainder of 1994, in preparation for presentation to the Hemispheric Summit of North, Central and South American heads of state in December 1994. The full implementation of the plan will then take place during the following years, with the long-term goal of achieving a sustainable course of development, including an efficient, renewably-based energy system and land-use management that provides for sustainable production of agricultural goods and biomass energy as well as net carbon accumulation.

A major aspect of the design of this plan is the development of an Action Plan for Climate Change. This action plan has developed during the second half of 1994 and will pursue the ambitious goal of making Costa Rica a net sink of atmospheric carbon. Costa Rica is well endowed with a high level of professional expertise in many of the relevant technical fields, especially tropical biology, but outside collaboration is needed to ensure that state-of-the-art energy analysis and planning methods are applied to this effort.

In particular, UCCEE collaborates with MIRENEM and other Costa Rican institutions in the development of the following aspects of the Action Plan for Climate Change:

In the context of Costa Rica's Action Plan for Climate Change, joint implementation (JI) under the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) is viewed as an opportunity to secure external resources that would not otherwise be available to support the plan's implementation. UCCEE is assisting MIRENEM in the design of a JI strategy to ensure that credible projects are chosen and implemented by competent institutions. Because of the potential importance of JI in helping Costa Rica implement its sustainable development plan, MIRENEM is anxious to make Costa Rica a pioneer in this process, and to show positive results in terms of both emission reductions and domestic development priorities.

Through participation and collaboration in the development of this plan, UCCEE expects to begin a long-term collaboration with MIRENEM and other Costa Rican institutions. Future work would include further collaboration in the course of the implementation phase of the "transition to sustainability." This pioneering effort in Costa Rica is expected to provide a model for other countries in Central America and elsewhere in Latin America, where the methods applied and results derived may be transferred.

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