Costa Rica as a low-emission country – supporting the 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, Building and Nuclear Society (BMUB) within the scope of the International Climate Initiative (IKI)
Country: Costa Rica
Lead executing agency: Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía (MINAE); Dirección de Cambio Climático (DCC) del Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía
Overall term: 2016 to 2019


Costa Rica has set itself the aim of becoming greenhouse gas-neutral by the year 2021. As a result, the country has committed to gearing its policies towards reducing emissions sustainably and in the long term. This politically ambitious goal requires great effort and innovative approaches. Current scenarios show that greenhouse gas emissions, and above all carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, will increase in Costa Rica, primarily due to an increase in motorised private transport and growing consumption of fossil fuels in industry and power generation. By contrast, increases in CO2 emissions from waste management are low and emissions from agriculture have even decreased a little.


Costa Rica’s ability to implement strategies that will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions is strengthened. The country can use the experience it has gleaned from the process of becoming a low-emission country to inform regional and international discussions on low-carbon development and serves as a model for neighbouring countries in the region 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, providing climate finance mechanisms and developing local authority capacities in the field of climate change mitigation.

It will continue advising industry and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) on planning and implementing measures to reduce emissions and on how to use environmentally and climate-friendly technologies. Close cooperation with communities and local authorities allows for vertical exchange of information between government programmes and the lessons learned by local authorities and businesses. Their concerns are thus better taken into account.

The project is also supporting the development and monitoring of measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, for instance in the transport and agriculture sector and the waste management sector, which lead to direct reductions in CO2 emissions.

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

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, the Costa Rican Ministry of Environment and Energy is developing instruments with project support to mobilise climate funding and methods to monitor the volume, origin and use of funds.

The project is enshrining 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’). The project also works in close consultation with the NDC Partnership to make the lessons learned available to other countries. The project also serves as an anchoring point for three global projects of the International Climate Initiative (IKI). More information can be found under Related Topics.


The predecessor project has developed voluntary Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) for agriculture, especially for coffee, milk and meat production, as well as urban development, waste management and transport. The Low-Carbon Coffee NAMA is currently being implemented as the world’s first agricultural NAMA in the coffee sector. More information can be found under Related Topics. It was followed by the Eco-Competitive Livestock Sector NAMA, with an NAMA on using agricultural biomass in preparation.

More than 80 companies have been officially designated CO2-neutral. Leading companies such as the beverage manufacturer Fifco and the food production company Dos Pinos have introduced low-emission technologies for cooling systems and boilers.

Awareness of the issue of climate change among the general public is increasing due to informative campaigns such as a film festival. One indication of this increased awareness is the rising number of specialist reports on climate change in the media.

Costa Rica is able to proactively pass on its experiences of becoming a low-emission country at the international climate negotiations. This encourages developing countries and emerging economies to follow its example.

The voluntary commitments, which Costa Rica will publish at the next series of negotiations, have motivated key ministries such as the Ministry of Housing and Ministry of National Planning and Economic Policy to appoint an officer responsible for climate policy.

Other Languages


Related Themes

Further Information