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Country to Lead Global Forest Protection Efforts

Following President Oscar Arias recent visit to the United Nations, Costa Rica could play a leading role in protecting rain forests around the world, thanks to two separate initiatives.

First, Costa Rica will lead a global coalition of nations that seek to promote the protection of rain forests as part of the Clinton Global Initiative, a sustainable development program founded by former U.S. President Bill Clinton, according to a statement released Sept. 21 by Casa Presidencial.

The coalition, proposed by Papua New Guinea, got its start with a $2 million donation, finalized Sept. 21, by The Nature Conservancy and Conservation International.

Arias spoke with Clinton personally while at the U.N. General Assembly in New York about the need to reduce deforestation and financially reward countries that make efforts in this area.

Arias, following his return to Costa Rica last week, announced that he also spoke with Clinton s former Vice-President, 2000 presidential candidate Al Gore, who agreed to come to Costa Rica at an unspecified date in the near future to discuss additional conservation efforts.

The idea, Arias said, is that countries that make efforts to protect their rain forests be rewarded. Under the Kyoto Protocol, nations that plant trees are rewarded, but countries that protect their forests from being cut down are not, Arias said.

The President said that Norway has already given Costa Rica $2 million, through the purchase of carbon bonds, and the World Bank was interested in investing $200 million in his and Gore s idea.

I believe this would be something important for the country… Not only the country it s important for humanity, Arias said.



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