OECD Environmental Performance Reviews: Costa Rica 2023

image of OECD Environmental Performance Reviews: Costa Rica 2023

A megadiverse county, Costa Rica is known globally for its success in reversing deforestation and pursuing a growth model based on the sustainable use of its environmental resources. However, energy use and related greenhouse gas emissions increased in the last decade. Private cars are a major and growing source of emissions affecting climate and air quality. Waste disposal still relies on landfills, and much wastewater is untreated. Costa Rica’s extensive protected area network and pioneering programme of payments for ecosystem services have helped reduce biodiversity loss and extend forests’ carbon sequestration capacity. However, more should be done to tackle pressures on biodiversity from development of infrastructure and settlements, tourism, farming and fishing. The sheer scale of investment needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals calls for improving the efficiency of public spending, mobilising private finance, strictly enforcing regulations and providing adequate incentives.

This is the first OECD Environmental Performance Review of Costa Rica. It evaluates the country’s progress towards sustainable development, with a special chapter focusing on biodiversity, and provides 52 recommendations.

English Also available in: French

Environmental performance

Costa Rica made important strides in delinking environmental pressures from its fast economic growth in the last 15 years. It has expanded forest cover and electricity generation from renewable sources. However, cars are a growing source of emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants. Waste disposal still relies on landfills, and much wastewater is untreated. Pressures on the environment are likely to increase with sustained economic growth and rising living standards. This chapter provides an overview of Costa Rica’s environmental achievements since 2010, and its remaining challenges. It reviews progress in moving towards a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy, controlling air pollution, ensuring sound waste services and improving management of water resources.



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