http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 13.71Change: 0.13
R/$ = 10.88Change: 0.07
Au 1198.95 $/ozChange: -1.27
Pt 1245.50 $/ozChange: -0.50
 
 
Note: Search is limited to the most recent 250 articles. Set date range to access earlier articles.
Where? With... When?








Start
 
End
 
 
And must exclude these words...
Close Main Search
Close Main Login
My Profile News Alerts Newsletters Logout Close Main Profile
 
Agriculture   Automotive   Chemicals   Competition Policy   Construction   Defence   Economy   Electricity   Energy   Environment   ICT   Metals   Mining   Science and Technology   Services   Trade   Transport & Logistics   Water  
What's On Press Office Tenders Suppliers Directory Research Jobs Announcements Contact Us
 
 
 
RSS Feed
Article   Comments   Other News   Research   Magazine  
 
 
Jul 08, 2011

Lessons from Costa Rica in environmental sustainability

Back
Cape Town|Africa|Conservation International|Environment|Resources|Road|System|Water|Africa|Costa Rica|South Africa|Ecosystem Services|Energy|Environmental Services|Services|Environmental|Carlos Manuel Rodriguez|Water
|Africa|Environment|Resources|Road|System|Water|Africa||Energy|Services|Environmental|Water
cape-town|africa-company|conservation-international|environment|resources|road|system|water-company|africa|costa-rica|south-africa|ecosystem-services|energy|environmental-services-industry-term|services|environmental|carlos-manuel-rodriguez|water
© Reuse this



The earth’s population spends more money on killing the planet than saving it, according to Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, VP for conservation policy at Conservation International.

Rodriguez, also formerly Costa Rica’s Minster of Environment and Energy, was speaking in Cape Town last week at the Cambridge Resilience Forum about how Costa Rica has been one of the most successful countries in the world in working towards a low-carbon economy using a system known as payment for ecosystem services (PES).

Rodriguez was a pioneer in Costa Rica in the development and implementation of this system, where Costa Ricans are paid for any carbon sequestration, water and biodiversity ‘services’ they provide.

“[Costa Ricans] have learned that we are unable to succeed in achieving our standards, targets and goals of social development and economic development without investing heavily in wisely using our natural resources and ecosystem,” he said.

Costa Rica is a biodiversity ‘hot spot’ where, in 1940, 75% of the country was covered in forests. This dropped to only 21% in 1987 as the financial incentives of the time were geared to changing unproductive landscapes into productive landscapes. Forests were mostly considered unproductive, resulting in deforestation. In 1991, the Costa Rican government realised that the incentives being paid were essentially bad investments and needed to be reconsidered.

In the early 1990s, Costa Rica subsequently analysed the benefits from healthy ecosystems. The analysis resulted in a policy which identified that owners of forests were supplying environmental services to the country in the form of carbon sequestration and so could be paid for those services. The intention was that this would encourage further reforestation by other landowners.

Environmental Services

Vehicles such as carbon taxes were implemented, which then created the income that could be paid to the providers of the environmental services.

The PES system was dramatically successful and payment for carbon sequestration services resulted in the restoration of a significant number of forests and, by 2005, the forest-covered area of the country increased to 52%. PES meant it had become profitable for landowners to reforest.

The system had other benefits which were not initially anticipated. Of the people that received payment for environmental services, 30% were considered extremely poor, said Rodriguez. Unwittingly, the Costa Rican government had designed a market instrument for forest conservation that also had a significant human benefit as a by-product. Rodriguez was able to show examples where communities had used PES funds to build homes and schools and, in doing so, uplifted themselves.

In addition to payment for carbon sequestration, the PES system now also pays for water and biodiversity services. He said that payment for water services “is an area where I see a great opportunity for South Africa”.

Commenting on South Africa’s road towards environmental sustainability, he noted other parallels with Costa Rica. “When I travel around rural South Africa, I see you have a major challenge in restoration, not just in conservation. I believe that the dimension and scale of the restoration are even bigger and more complex.”

Costa Rica should be an example for South Africa as it has shown that environmental sustainability and social development can go hand in hand. Where it was once the poorest country in the western hemisphere, it now ranks top of the ‘Happy Planet Index’, which measures the wellbeing of people in the nations of the world while taking into account their environmental impact. Costa Rica aims to be fully carbon neutral by 2021.

Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other News This Week News
Updated 5 hours ago In the next 20 years, it was expected that, in Africa, more people would live in cities and towns than in rural areas, United Nations Habitat executive director Dr Aisa Kirabo Kacyira said at the Human Settlements Indaba that took place earlier this month in...
Updated 5 hours ago Tough-talking Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has committed government to building 1.5-million low-cost houses over the next five years, telling the Human Settlements Indaba in Johannesburg on Wednesday that the State would achieve this target through the...
Updated 5 hours ago Over the past 20 years there has been persistent concern about deindustrialisation in South Africa, as well as the fact that locally produced manufactured products have been increasingly displaced by imports.
More
 
 
Latest News
South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) group corporate services executive Ambassador Xolisa Mabhongo stressed on Thursday that South Africa currently had only one Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) for electricity, the IRP 2010, and that the IRP Update...
Small Business Deputy Minister Elizabeth Thabethe
South Africans needed to become more entrepreneurial and create their own jobs, instead of expecting government to create jobs or rely on private-sector employment. “We need to become masters of our own destinies,” Small Business Development Deputy Minister Elizabeth...
Plans to increase gross domestic expenditure on research and development (GERD) to 1.5% of gross domestic product by 2019 are yet to be formally adopted, despite the target being incorporated in the draft strategic plan of the Department of Science and Technology...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
Updated 6 hours ago In the next 20 years, it was expected that, in Africa, more people would live in cities and towns than in rural areas, United Nations Habitat executive director Dr Aisa Kirabo Kacyira said at the Human Settlements Indaba that took place earlier this month in...
Updated 6 hours ago Tough-talking Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has committed government to building 1.5-million low-cost houses over the next five years, telling the Human Settlements Indaba in Johannesburg on Wednesday that the State would achieve this target through the...
Updated 6 hours ago Over the past 20 years there has been persistent concern about deindustrialisation in South Africa, as well as the fact that locally produced manufactured products have been increasingly displaced by imports.
Updated 6 hours ago Financial agreement for Ghanian independent power producer (IPP) Cenpower Generation Company’s $900-million, 350 MW combined-cycle gas-turbine power plant was finalised earlier this month, paving the way for the project’s construction to begin before 2015 in Tema,...
Updated 6 hours ago The revenue implications for South Africa of ‘base erosion and profit shifting’ by corporate taxpayers are firmly in the crosshairs of the Davis Tax Committee (DTC) and Judge Dennis Davis hinted last week that recommendations were being considered to “detect and...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alert Close
Embed Code Close
content
Research Reports Close
Research Reports are a product of the
Research Channel Africa. Reports can be bought individually or you can gain full access to all reports as part of a Research Channel Africa subscription.
Find Out More Buy Report
 
 
Close
Engineering News
Completely Re-Engineered
Experience it now. Click here
*website to launch in a few weeks