Supporting Costa Rica’s climate-neutrality strategy

Project description

Title: Costa Rica as a low-emission country – supporting the national climate neutrality strategy in Costa Rica as a model for low-carbon development, Phase II
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) as part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI)
Co-funded: Costa Rican USA Foundation for Cooperation (CRUSA)
Country: Costa Rica
Lead executing agency: Climate Change Directorate (DCC) of the Ministry of Environment and Energy
Overall term: 2015 to 2021


Costa Rica has set itself the goal of becoming greenhouse gas-neutral by 2021. At the beginning of 2019, the government published a national decarbonisation plan, which provides for complete independence from fossil fuels by 2050, and has thus defined the targets set in more detail. Through this, the country has committed to gearing its policies towards reducing emissions in the long term. This politically ambitious goal requires great effort and innovative approaches, as current scenarios show that greenhouse gas emissions will increase in Costa Rica.


Costa Rica’s ability to implement strategies aimed at significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change is strengthened. The country uses the experience it has gleaned from the process of becoming a low-emission country to inform regional and international discussions on low-carbon and resilient development. It thus serves as a model for neighbouring countries and other potential low-emission countries.


The project builds upon the work of a predecessor project and focuses on the following priority areas: improving the structure of the national climate regime (governance), creating a national climate monitoring system, monitoring climate finances and providing climate financing mechanisms. Additional aspects are the development of local authority capacities in the field of climate change mitigation and an international exchange of experiences.

The project aims to make contributions to the development of a long-term 2050 strategy plan. This will pursue the country’s long-term strategic planning until 2050 across all areas and unifies the development agenda and the climate agenda. 

The project is also supporting the development and monitoring of measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which lead to direct reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. Cofinancing enables specific reduction measures at local level for climate-friendly waste management. This is being implemented with the help of the Costa Rican foundation CRUSA.

Climate-friendly governance is improving the general conditions for reducing CO2 emissions. The project works with responsible institutions on improving their technical and organisational capacities so that they can perform their management and steering duties more effectively.

A national monitoring system for climate goals is being introduced by the institutions responsible for collecting and processing climate data. As a result, climate-related actions are monitored in a transparent and efficient way.

In order to reach national climate goals, instruments to mobilise climate funding and methods to monitor the volume, origin and use of funds are being developed.

Costa Rica’s efforts to implement climate goals and the lessons that it is learning in transitioning to becoming a low-emission country (‘climate testing lab’) are being enshrined at international level. The project also serves as an anchoring point for three global projects of the International Climate Initiative (IKI).


  • The project has made a substantial contribution to the development of the national decarbonisation plan, as well as agreements between various departments (transport, agriculture), and has developed appropriate mitigation actions in the waste management sector together with the relevant stakeholders. 
  • The project provided advice on the establishment of the Civil Society Climate Advisory Coun-cil (5C) and the Scientific Council on Climate Change (4C), and they have started work with its support. Two representatives of 5C attended COP24, the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. 
  • The national climate monitoring system SINAMECC was officially launched and is being populated with climate data from initial sectors (e.g. coffee).
  • As part of a pilot project, six municipalities were supported with calculating their greenhouse gas inventories and developing action plans to implement mitigation measures. Another 14 will be supported during the second half of 2019.
  • An incubation programme supports start-ups that view adaptation or mitigation as part of their business model. The aim here is to mobilise additional funding. 
  • Costa Rica is able to pass on its experiences of becoming a low-emission country at the international climate negotiations, thereby encouraging developing countries and emerging economies to follow its example.