Costa Rica Launches Its First National Adaptation Plan

Alongside the NAP, a new interactive story map platform on adaptation was launched

The launch ceremony of Costa Rica’s National Adaptation Plan took place on April 25. (Photo: Roberto Carlos Sánchez @rosanchezphoto)

The government of Costa Rica launched its first National Adaptation Plan (NAP) on April 25, 2022. The document establishes a roadmap to strengthen the country’s resilience to the impacts of climate change over the next 5 years. The plan was developed from 2020 to 2022 through a participatory process led by the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) that included 40 assemblies and 30 bilateral meetings in all Costa Rican socio-economic regions, engaging more than 150 institutions representing the public and private sector, as well as civil society.

During the launch ceremony, former President of the Republic of Costa Rica Carlos Alvarado called for the NAP’s urgent implementation. “The faster the climate changes and the longer adaptation efforts are postponed, the more difficult and costly it will be for us to recover from the physical, economic, social, and environmental losses caused by climate-related events. That is why we must act urgently,” said.

Six Priority Axes for Action

In 2020, Costa Rica presented its updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), reinforcing the country’s commitment to strengthening its climate resilience through the development of capacities and information for decision making, the inclusion of adaptation criteria in financing and planning instruments, the adaptation of public services, production systems, and infrastructure, and the implementation of nature-based solutions.

The NAP sets out six priority axes to achieve these commitments, as well as specific actions that will be carried out by different institutions over the next five years for each of them.

  • Axis 1. Knowledge management on the effects of climate change, climate services, and development of local and institutional capacities.
  • Axis 2. Strengthening of conditions for the resilience of human and natural systems through territorial, marine, and coastal planning.
  • Axis 3. Management of biodiversity, ecosystems, watersheds, and marine-coastal spaces to ensure the adaptation and well-being of local communities.
  • Axis 4. Climate-resilient utilities and infrastructure.
  • Axis 5. Adapted and eco-competitive productive systems.
  • Axis 6. Investment and financial security for climate action.

The Minister of Environment and Energy, Rolando Castro, noted that successful adaptation does not only depend on governments, but also on the active participation of stakeholders from the public and private sectors, as well as civil society. “We are extremely grateful to the 49 institutions that have assumed concrete commitments. These actors will be responsible for the implementation of different actions embodied in this plan, in collaboration with other national, regional, multilateral and international organizations, from the public, private, civil society sectors, and other stakeholders that took part in the consultation processes,” said Castro.

Former Costa Rican President, Carlos Alvarado (left), and Minister of Environment and Energy, Rolando Castro.
(Photo: Roberto Carlos Sánchez @rosanchezphoto)

Throughout the process of developing Costa Rica’s NAP, MINAE was supported by the Ministry of National Planning and Economic Policies (Mideplan), and received technical assistance and funds from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the Global Environmental Fund (GEF), and Fundecooperación para el Desarrollo Sostenible. 

Costa Rica’s National Adaptation Plan was added to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) NAP Central portal on May 5, 2022. Read it here (available only in Spanish).

¿Qué está en juego?: New Platform to Raise Awareness of Adaptation

Alongside the NAP, the Costa Rican government launched a new interactive story map platform on adaptation, ¿Qué está en juego? – Información sobre amenazas climáticas y sus impactos en Costa Rica (What’s at stake? – Information on climate hazards and their impacts in Costa Rica).

Drawing on data and information produced by 12 climate related organizations, the story map provides interactive and visually compelling climate risk data and information on adaptation for all audiences.

The platform showcases how climate change is affecting six priority sectors: biodiversity, water resources, health, agriculture and fisheries, infrastructure, and urban development and tourism. The platform’s dozens of maps, graphics, and videos were created based on info and data collected since the 1970s and will be updated periodically. In addition, the story map outlines hazards and potential scenarios resulting from the changing climate in the future. It also proposes solutions based on past experiences and the NAP.

“This story map is a key tool for sharing what we’re learning from our efforts to track progress of Costa Rican adaptation actions, assessing environmental, social, and economic impacts, and it provides important information for adjustments and decision making throughout the NAP process,” explains Patricia Campos, Director at MINAE’s Directorate of Climate Change.

The progress of the NAP implementation will be assessed annually by the Secretariat of Environmental Planning of MINAE and the Directorate of Climate Change. The results will be reflected in MINAE’s National System of Climate Change Metrics (SINAMECC) and within the story map platform.

The ¿Qué está en juego? Platform was developed by the MINAE Climate Change Directorate and the company GeoAdaptive with support from the NAP Global Network via funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Picture of one of the maps available on the platform ¿Qué está en juego?