Costa Rica’s president stresses that conservation generates economic growth
Madrid, Dec. 23 (EFE). – He assured Efe in an interview that the comparison between sustainability and economics is “false, and this is proven by the fact that conservation initiatives have generated economic growth and well-being” in Costa Rica’s IT President, Carlos Alvarado.
Alvarado, who has just decreed the expansion of the Isla del Coco National Park and the marine area for the two-hundred-year management, insisted that protecting ecosystems not only ensures the preservation of biodiversity, but also the future of fishing resources and the promotion of sustainable tourism.
This Central American country already has a land protection ratio of about 26%, and after this decision, marine protection will increase from 2.7% to nearly 30%.
Paradoxically, “many people do not know that Costa Rica’s territory is only 8% of the land, as 92% of it is marine, especially in the Pacific Ocean around Isla del Coco”, a national park declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site due to its natural wealth since it was “It has more than 50 endemic species and connects via underwater mountain ranges with the Galapagos Islands.”
For this reason, the Costa Rican government recently reached an agreement with those in Panama, Ecuador and Colombia to protect this sea lane and facilitate the breeding and conservation of the species in the region.
Raising the protection of the terrestrial and marine environment to 30% of each by 2030 worldwide is the goal of the High Aspiration Coalition for Nature and People, which was launched in 2019 by Costa Rica and France with the support of the United Kingdom at a pre-COP25 meeting.
“Then they said it was a very ambitious thing, but more than 75 countries have already joined” to take on a “triple responsibility”: between generations – “care for our planet for our grandchildren” -, and morals – “being concerned with the lives of all living beings in the world. Planet, is not,” Alvarado added. Only humans”—and leadership—“our example can make other countries follow us on this mission.”
The ecological wealth of Costa Rica, which despite its small size is home to more than 5% of global biodiversity, is a magnet for sustainable tourism, so the restrictions and restrictions imposed as a result of COVID-19 have made a strong impact in the country, with a 40% decrease in the number of Visitors and a 4% drop in its economy.
As of today, the situation is “recovering and now we have better numbers, in fact in places like Guanacaste we have over 90% occupancy between now and the end of the year.”
Alvarado also introduced Efe to the main environmental problems his country is facing at the moment, starting with waste, because “we need a more circular economy, and it is a complex task because it requires the help of local governments and a greater social effort.”
Regional regulation, adaptation planning and resilience is another challenge because “our region is prone to floods, droughts, cyclones…, the same infrastructure cannot be affected every season and we have to rebuild it again.”
The third challenge is public transport, “our main source of emissions, reaching 60%”, which is why the company is proposing to build an electric train connecting the four main Costa Rican cities: San José, Alajuela, Heredia and Cartago.
From an energy point of view, “our electrical matrix is 99.5% clean, and is based primarily on stationary renewables, hydroelectric and geothermal, as well as wind and photovoltaic”, and at the moment “we are working with green hydrogen and we hope to have A rate that allows us to attract investment from next year so that we can export it.”
The installation of electric stations and the abolition of taxes on electric cars made Costa Rica the country in the region with the highest percentage of them “since the growth was phenomenal: four years ago they did not reach a hundred and now we are one and a half million of this type of vehicle”.
Alvarado also had a memory of COP26 in Glasgow, which was “sweet and sour at the same time”, as it “allowed the targets to survive, but the problem now is time: it’s not what we’re going to do, but how fast we’re going to do it.” EFE.
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