UNDP highlights Costa Rica’s progress in reducing planetary pressure before the Governing Council

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The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) presented this Tuesday to the Governing Council of Costa Rica the results of the Human Development Report 2020. The Next Frontier: Human Development and the Anthropocene, while reaffirming its commitment to a more sustainable, inclusive and resilient recovery.

The Report innovates by incorporating a new metric, the planetary pressures-adjusted Human Development Index (P-HDI), which adjusts the measurement of human development based on two key indicators: carbon dioxide emissions and material footprint measurement (both per capita); representing a fundamental shift to the development paradigm established by UNDP 30 years ago.

The new Index shows the need to rethink the global development model to stop irreversible damage to planet Earth, including human survival itself.

Under this measure, Costa Rica is the country with the largest gain in global rankings, moving from 62nd place in the HDI to 25th place in the P-HDI, up 37 places and confirming the result of efforts to make economic development and environmental protection synergistic. In contrast, more than 50 countries drop out of the very high human development group, reflecting their dependence on fossil fuels and their material footprint.

“The national efforts to decarbonise the economy and take care of our environment allow us to make this international leap. The next frontier of human development requires working hand in hand with respect for nature; Costa Rica, faithful to its environmentalist tradition, has set out to be a global laboratory for sustainable development. The UNDP Report reaffirms that we are on the right path, thanks to the efforts of many generations,” said Carlos Alvarado Quesada, President of the Republic.

The UNDP Representative in Costa Rica referred to the commitment of the international cooperation agency to support the path to a better and sustainable recovery from the current socio-economic problems, and highlighted Costa Rica’s commitment to the only possible path, which is that of a green economy. He particularly highlighted the green and positive image of Costa Rica in international markets.

“Focusing the development response on efforts for a fairer, more inclusive and nature-friendly recovery is crucial. Ambitious progress in this country, such as the National Decarbonisation Plan, demonstrates to the world that sustainability is synonymous with prosperity and human development and we are proud to support Costa Rica. We recognize that the smart application of stimuli to transition to a green economy in response to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic offers an unprecedented opportunity to build back better,” added José Vicente Troya Rodríguez, UNDP Resident Representative.

José Vicente Troya, UNDP Representative in Costa Rica, referred to the commitment of the international cooperation agency to support the road to a sustainable, fair and inclusive recovery. Photo: Julieth Méndez, Casa Presidencial.

The report provides global evidence of Costa Rica’s actions, such as the extensive mapping of areas essential for life support, which identified opportunities to protect, restore and manage the country’s biodiversity through nature-based solutions in both rural and urban areas. It also highlights a mangrove restoration project in the Gulf of Nicoya, where 34% of mangrove forests are threatened by agricultural expansion.

Mapping national priorities for nature-based solutions, Costa Rica.

For more information about the Human Development Report 2020 and UNDP’s analysis of the new Human Development Index adjusted for planetary pressures, please go to

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