Costa Rican “Payment for Environmental Services” Program Received the 2020 United Nations Award for Global Climate Action

The Payment for Environmental Services (PSA in Spanish) Program received the United Nations Award for Global Climate Action for 2020 this Tuesday 27th, in the category “Financing climate-friendly investments.” The PSA is developed by the Forestry Financing Fund (Fonafifo) of the Ministry of Environment and Energy (Minae).

This Award recognized 13 projects from around the world, classified in three different areas, for practical and scalable examples on how to combat climate change.

The PSA is a financial mechanism that recognizes landowners for forest protection. In this way, it contributes to the conservation and recovery of the national forest cover, which is essential in the mitigation of greenhouse gases to minimize the onslaught of aggressive climate change.

Program beneficiaries

Through this program, about 17,000 million colones are paid annually to the most vulnerable actors in the economy. Such as small forest producers, women, forest organizations, and indigenous territories among others; who also in many cases are located in the cantons with the lowest index of social development.

“The PSA is a source of income for small forest owners and small forest producers who through this program receive resources to survive,” said the Minister of Environment and Energy, Andrea Meza.

“In a painful year for the country, the PSA has been an engine for the rural economy and is a key engine for Costa Rica’s sustainable economic recovery,” added Meza.

This year’s award-winning projects demonstrate leadership on climate change from countries, companies, investors, cities, regions, and civil society as a whole. Additionally, it is part of a broader effort to mobilize action and ambition as national governments work to implement the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals.

“It is a recognition of the country’s visionary commitment to innovative mechanisms, such as the PSA; the world’s first fuel tax aimed at protecting and conserving forests and a robust forestry law, among others,” said Jorge Mario Rodríguez, Executive Director of Fonafifo.

Winning projects

The 2020 winning activities were selected by an international advisory panel as part of the United Nations Momentum for the Change initiative. They range from the only non-carbon hotel in the Caribbean to the world’s first platform fully dedicated to green bonds, to an all-female team in the solar energy sector in Lebanon.

“I congratulate the winning projects (…), they are all tangible proof that climate action is already being taken around the world,” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.

The PSA has benefited more than 18,000 families since its inception in 1997. In total, the program has mobilized more than $ 524 million in projects that have benefited more than 1.3 million hectares under PSA contracts.

Resonance Costa Rica