Productive systems face a fourfold challenge in the face of the global economic contraction exacerbated by COVID-19: “to produce more efficiently or reinvent themselves, maintain value chains that support jobs and livelihoods, while the sustainable use and rehabilitation of nature are ensured in the face of climate change”.
In this context and with the objective of cementing Costa Rica as an economy based on knowledge, with sustainable production of high added value in all its regions and the fair and equitable use of its biodiversity, the Government of the Republic announced this Friday the “National Bioeconomy Strategy”.
This is an effort by the Ministry of Environment and Energy, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Commerce and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Telecommunications (MICITT), as the leader of the initiative.
The formulation process had the support of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) for its development, with the financial support of the cooperation program with the Federal Republic of Germany (CEPAL-BMZ / GIZ Program) and the contribution from various sectors and experts from the areas of science and technology, both public and private.
The National Bioeconomy Strategy is a framework to integrate public and private proposals, align incentives and public investments, and guide the private initiative, articulating various areas related to production and the environment.
The purpose is to make the “bioeconomy” one of the pillars for the productive transformation of Costa Rica, by promoting innovation, value addition, diversification and sophistication of its economy, applying the principles of the “circular bioeconomy” and seeking the “decarbonization” of production and consumption processes.
“The bioeconomy represents a great opportunity to promote regional development, since it serves as a complement to existing productive activities, diversifying them, promoting added value and making them more sustainable, by making responsible use of natural resources and even locally generated waste” , explained the Minister of Science, Technology and Telecommunications, Paola Vega Castillo.
The President of the Republic, Carlos Alvarado, affirmed that “the strategy seeks to build a Costa Rica with sustainable production of high added value, based on the fair and equitable use of its biodiversity, increase biotechnological efforts, which allows a productive transformation, based in knowledge”.
The President recalled that the promotion of the bioeconomy and the search for best practices in this matter, was part of the agenda during his trip to Germany in May 2019, where he met with the German Federal Chancellor, Angela Merkel. In addition, President Alvarado thanked Germany for its cooperation in the construction of this strategy.
“In a context of the Pandemic, as a country, it is a challenge to accelerate the steps towards the bioeconomy that will allow us to influence the development of our regions and their productivity,” the President stressed.
Global Policy Framework
The National Bioeconomy Strategy is based on global policy frameworks adopted by the country: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Convention to Combat Desertification and the instruments of national policy that implement this framework.
10-year vision and is planned to be implemented in three phases: impulse (2020-2022); escalation (2022-2026) and consolidation (2026-2030). Through these three phases, the use of Costa Rica’s biological wealth and capabilities in the scientific field will be enhanced, based on knowledge and the sustainable use of the country’s biological assets.
In this activity, a MICITT-UNDP Agreement of Understanding was signed, with the aim of promoting the mobilization of technical and financial resources to encourage the development of bio-businesses within the framework of the National Bioeconomy Strategy and the Finance Initiative for the Biodiversity (BIOFIN).
Costa Rica reaffirms environmental leadership
“Costa Rica demonstrates, once again, its global leadership at the forefront of economic and commercial opportunities from an innovation, inclusion and sustainability perspective that will also translate into economic reactivation,” declared José Vicente Troya Rodríguez, resident representative of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Costa Rica.
“As a leading country in terms of environmental sustainability, we have earned the privilege of putting environmental issues at the center of development. Many countries take Costa Rica as a reference, because we have shown that the protection of nature is not a brake on development, on the contrary, it has generated a series of important economic opportunities. We have been a decade ahead of many countries on issues of conservation and national parks due to historical conditions of social development and better governance”, stated Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, Minister of MINAE.
“From the agricultural sector, we see this strategy as an option to achieve greater development of agricultural, livestock, fishing, and aquaculture activities in a sustainable way. We want to promote the addition of value, the use of biomass for energy production and the diversification that makes the producers more competitive, since greater opportunities are generated to access various markets with new products and services and new sources that are created, with equitable economic and social growth”, said Renato Alvarado, MAG minister.
“This is a reference framework to complement the 2030 National Entrepreneurship Policy, which also constitutes a guiding framework to promote a sustainable economic recovery, which lays solid foundations for the transformations that are needed in a time like the one we live in.
It involves the challenges of coordinating dialogue and agreement with the private sector, aligning incentives, regulating, and simplifying procedures. From the MEIC, we are committed to assuming these challenges so that the business sector has opportunities for innovation, new ventures, strengthening value chains, public purchases and information to consumers”, was declared by Victoria Hernández, Minister of Economy, Industry, and Commerce.
“Agroecological systems, agroindustry, bioprospecting, and agricultural and medical biotechnology are areas in which Costa Rica has capacities to enhance as part of its National Bioeconomy Strategy; These are areas in which two relevant factors are combined in the case of Costa Rica: on the one hand, the biological wealth of the country; and on the other, recognized capacities in the fields of biological and life sciences ”, concluded Mario Cimoli, Deputy Executive Secretary of ECLAC.