COP26 President-Designate Alok Sharma, the former UK Business Secretary, has been encouraged by a recent visit to Costa Rica after President Carlos Alvarado Quesada’s government committed to ambitious policies which aim to tackle climate change and protect biodiversity.
In his first visit to the Central American nation in his current role, Sharma held high-level discussions with President Alvarado as well as his Acting Foreign Affairs Minister Adriana Bolaños Argueta and Minister of Energy and the Environment, Andrea Meza Murillo.
The talks revolved around UK-Costa Rican cooperation on climate concerns ahead of the UK’s hosting of COP26 in Glasgow from November 1-12, 2021.
During his two days in the country, Sharma also met with Costa Rica’s Minister of Foreign Trade Andrés Valenciano Yamuni; Pilar Garrido Gonzalo, Minister of Planning and Economic Policy and André Garnier Kruse, Private Sector Liaison Minister, for discussions about financing and Costa Rica’s own innovative tactics for tackling climate change.
Sharma’s mission included a visit to a local coffee plantation to gauge how Costa Rica has implemented one of the world’s first Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action [NAMA] agricultural projects, rendering its production processes more friendly to biodiversity and simultaneously more resistant to climate change and disease.
Sharma also learnt more about Costa Rica's progression toward an electrical transport system, following a visit to a local rapid recharging centre.
Costa Rica has also taken other steps to address the climate emergency, including recently amending its Nationally Determined Contribution pledges to help limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. It has also set itself a target of a maximum of 9.11 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions by 2030.
The Central American country, alongside wider Latin America and the Caribbean are among the regions most vulnerable to and already affected by climate change, with the area already suffering from the impacts of extreme weather conditions such as hurricanes and droughts which have hampered food production, water resources and public health.
The UK is keen to work closely with the country for ambitious action on climate change, and Costa Rica has already affirmed its commitment to more robust measures through its engagement on tackling the climate emergency through the Leaders' Pledge for Nature, High Ambition Coalition, Global Oceans Alliance and Convention on Biological Diversity.
Costa Rica is also set to participate at a Climate and Development Ministerial on March 31, hosted by the UK, a global summit which will mobilise action to support countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change in the run-up to COP26.
Following the visit Sharma, said: “I am delighted to have visited Costa Rica this week to see first-hand the action it is taking to fight climate change. It is showing true leadership to slow the pace of climate change and to manage its impacts.
“I hope this encourages other countries, whether in the region or further afield. I look forward to Costa Rica joining us to discuss this important issue at the UK-hosted Climate and Development Ministerial meeting later this month.”