“Champion of Earth” Costa Rica leads the “green” agenda

Americas Now

Costa Rica was named “Champion of the Earth” by the United Nations for fighting climate change. President Carlos Alvarado explains what is next on the country’s green agenda. 

When it comes to economic growth, most Latin American countries turn to its vast natural resources. Sometimes that comes at a cost to the environment by pollution or deforestation. Costa Rica’s economic model hasn’t always been green but, after great deforestation and loss of biodiversity, the country altered its course onto a more sustainable path back in the 1940’s. 

The country’s leaders at the time decided to make protection of the environment a matter of state. They implemented a Pago por Servicios Ambientales or PSA in Spanish – Payment for Environmental Services – which was a successful program that paid land owners for the protection of the forest. The national payment program includes revenues for “carbon storage, hydrological services and the protection of biodiversity and landscapes.” The program was credited with reducing deforestation in the country. 

The green agenda is something that’s been instilled in Costa Rica’s culture.

“Americas Now” anchor Elaine Reyes interviewed President Carlos Alvarado Quesada after the United Nations recognized his country’s environmental efforts.