In times of Pandemic and as a strategy for a green and sustainable recovery of the economy, more than one hundred women from all over Costa Rica launched sustainable production projects with a high impact on biodiversity.
Through the “More Women, More Nature” Program, the National Forestry Financing Fund (FONAFIFO) and Fundecooperación endorsed 120 projects for more than ¢ 1,100 million, to be executed for up to ten years, for the protection of forests, reforestation, regeneration natural, agroforestry systems, production development, ecotourism and working capital.
The placement of the funds was possible thanks to three instruments: “FONAFIFO credit by your side”, “MUJERES NATURA credit” and the state program of “Payment for Environmental Services (PSA).
All the funded initiatives aim to strengthen women’s economic autonomy, address gender gaps in nature management, move towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and meet the goals set forth in the Initiative of Gender Parity (IPG), led by the First Vice President of the Republic, Epsy Campbell, together with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the World Economic Forum (WEF).
One of these projects has been, precisely, the planting of more than a thousand laurel trees, directed by Marielos Pérez, her husband and their children in the El Cacao settlement, in San Luis de Upala.
A family blessing
“For my family it has been a blessing to plant these trees because we are taking care of the environment and generating oxygen. A lot of birds and squirrels come here like never before and also the little trees help us to mitigate the impacts of natural disasters because they serve as a barrier when there are strong winds, but above all they beautify the plot. Really only good things,” said Pérez.
Upon learning of the first results of the “More Women, More Nature” Program, the Vice President of the Republic, Epsy Campbell, recalled that “the sustainable development of the country is only possible if women actively participate in the management of nature.”
“We are pleased to know that the package of opportunities announced ten months ago for biodiversity managers is giving its first results. Our intention is to strengthen the enterprises that women carry out, move many of them to formality and give them decent working conditions and opportunities,” added Campbell.
“But, in addition, while they have access to these opportunities to improve their quality of life, they contribute significantly to the sustainable development of the country”, concluded the Vice President.
Agents of change
For her part, the Minister of Environment and Energy, Andrea Meza, stressed that “women are agents of change in the territory and a fundamental part of the creation of green and sustainable jobs in rural areas. This fund allows us to facilitate the inclusion of women in forestry financing schemes, to achieve development in harmony with nature and achieve sustainable development objectives.”
The executive president of INAMU and Minister of the Status of Women, Marcela Guerrero, expressed the interest and commitment of the institution, when signing the letter of adhesion to the More Women More Nature Program in May 2020 to ensure visibility and strengthening of the contribution of women to the sustainability of biodiversity, thanks to access to credit and financing instruments for their productive activities, while protecting economic autonomy and the full exercise of women’s human rights.
“Guaranteeing these resources and the opportunity to manage them through green and sustainable economy projects becomes transcendental in these times. This goes through the issues of conservation, circular economy, food autonomy, resilience to the effects of the climate crisis and innovation,” Guerrero stressed.
Finally, María Elena Herrera, in charge of gender projects at FONAFIFO, recalled that “the development and implementation of concrete actions that integrate and reflect the ideas and contributions of women allows increasing participation in initiatives of sustainable productive landscapes and other activities related to the use of land, which can generate resources and improve their livelihoods while contributing to the conservation and sustainable management of the country”.
The More Women More Nature Program, led by the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Office of the First Vice President of the Republic, was announced the previous year as a need for Recognize the historical role of women, and especially rural women, in conserving forests and other natural ecosystems.
Among the financing lines are:
FONAFIFO credit by your side, to promote economic development and improve the quality of life of rural women. It is a line of financing of up to ¢ 5 million with fiduciary guarantee, a term of ten years and a fixed rate of 4% per year for productive development, working capital, infrastructure, equipment and innovative projects related to the forest.
There are also other credit lines for higher amounts with another type of guarantee (mortgage, security or pledge). With simple requirements, women who want to apply for this credit should call 2545-3500 or visit the website www.fonafifo.go.cr
MUJERES NATURA credit, to integrate the gender perspective, equality and the empowerment of women in the management of biodiversity. It consists of a financing line granted by Fundecooperación, of up to ¢ 10 million, with a maximum term of five years. Those who do not have a mortgage, security, pledge or trust guarantee can request the FIDEIMAS guarantee. Women who want to apply for this credit should call 2225-4507, write a WhatsApp at 8615-2112 or visit the website www.fundecooperacion.org
Payment of Environmental Services to women. Since May 2020, FONAFIFO has prioritized the Payment of Environmental Services (PES) to women owners of forests and forest plantations.
The PSA consists of a financial recognition by the State for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, protecting biodiversity and water, as well as the scenic beauty service provided by forests.