The Global Environmental Fund (GEF) announced that it will provide Costa Rica with $10.3 million over five years to invest in the decarbonization of the Greater Metropolitan Area.
The money will be used to finance the project “Transition to an urban green economy to generate global environmental benefits”, which involves the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS).
The project seeks to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated by cities, through the implementation of sustainable integrated urban planning strategy. It envisages actions aimed at greening 2,000 hectares, in coordination with local governments.
In addition, it also seeks to promote circular economy businesses and propose legal and institutional reforms that will help pave the way for future initiatives.
The proposal, financed by the GEF, focuses on active mobility and the improvement of public transportation as drivers of decarbonization in the Greater Metropolitan Area. It also allows urban ecosystem restoration, by taking advantage of the environmental services provided by natural landscapes for adaptation and resilience to climate change.
Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, Executive Director of The Global Environmental Fund, expressed his contentment with the project. “The approach of this project is extremely ambitious because it seeks to change the economic logic by decarbonizing an entire country’s revenue base. That is the level of ambition that the GEF is interested in seeing. We are honored to share a vision with MINAE, OTS and UNDP to accelerate sustainable cities and achieve net zero emissions by 2050,” he mentioned.
Most cities in Costa Rica lack planning, mobility programs and have major problems with public transportation, which causes dreadful and unnecessary traffic and is detrimental to the quality of life for most ticos.
With this donation, it is expected to expand the benefits of the electric train, that is soon to be built and to improve the urban landscape and mobility in the 20 cantons located along the train track and its surroundings.
The construction will be coordinated with the municipalities. By the end of the project, it is expected that there will be 8 kilometers of bicycle lanes, 3 kilometers of shared paths and pedestrian walkways, and 20 kilometers of green sidewalks with improved access.
Lastly, a central part of the program corresponds to reforestation: this will result in the direct capture of 24,000 tons of carbon dioxide and it will help restore damaged ecosystems, as well as improve the landscape.