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More Funding for Biodiversity Headed to Costa Rica?


A female orchid bee, Euglossa in the family Apidae, flying to the flower of a Stachytarpheta fanzii. Photo by Felipe Chavarría.

On Friday, May 21, in honor of the International Day for Biological Diversity, the Costa Rica Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) and the Finance Initiative for Biodiversity (BIOFIN) of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), signed an Agreement of Understanding to redouble efforts to support funding for biodiversity in Costa Rica. According to a recent study by BIOFIN, the total annual value of Costa Rica’s natural capital is $14.5 billion, representing 23 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. Currently, however, the government’s average annual expenditure on biodiversity represents 0.18 percent of GDP. The collaboration will help Costa Rica monitor the financing gap between investment in biodiversity and public spending and propose alternatives to reduce that gap. Andrea Meza, the minister of MINAE, said some of the factors that widen this gap include the global economic contraction and the reduction in tourism due to the pandemic. The resulting loss of income means less money for protected wild areas, such as Área de Conservación Guanacaste, and for payments for ecosystem services. "The signing of this Agreement of Understanding allows us to continue the analysis of the challenges of financing for biodiversity and implement financial solutions within a framework of strategic alliances for the benefit of our planet, nature and communities," said Meza. Under the agreement, the country will be able to access financing for nature-based solutions as part of its effort to promote economic reactivation.