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Global Ideas

Preserving Costa Rica's coasts

Costa Rica has set itself ambitious climate goals, but balancing environment conservation with the needs of its people and its economy is proving to be a tricky task.

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Project goal: better management of protected areas and reserves
Project type: climate change adaptation measuresalong Costa Rica’s coastline
Project volume: 3,500,000 euros ($4.8 million) of funding from the International Climate Initiative

As a small country with seemingly endless coastlines, Costa Rica remains vulnerable to rising sea levels and warming warmer waters. The country’s precious coral reefs as well as mangrove forests are at risk. Costa Rica is something of an environmental model in Central and South America. The country is aiming to be climate-neutral by 2021. Yet, it has been slow to adapt to the consequences of climate change. Despite booming economic growth, poverty remains a problem especially among fishermen. They’ve seen their stocks shrink dramatically due to overfishing and rising water temperatures, and that has led to increased poverty in coastal communities. And the government’s practice of creating new conservation areas has only exacerbated the problem. Germany’s federal development agency, the GIZ, is trying to help strike a balance between the economic requirements of the local population and the need to conserve the environment.

A film by Marion Hütter

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