An agreement to reduce Costa Rica’s debt by nearly $25 million over the next 16 years was reached by the governments of the United States and Costa Rica, the Central Bank of Costa Rica as well as the U.S. based Conservation International and the Nature Conservatory. In return, the Central Bank of Costa Rica has committed to pay these funds to support grants to non-governmental organizations and other groups that protect and restore the country’s tropical forests.

This program called a debt for nature allows developing countries to reduce debt owed to the United States while generating monies to conserve forests. The Tropical Forest Conservation Act of 1998 (TFCA) is jointly managed by the US Agency for International development (USAID), the US Treasury Department, and the US State Department.

A 12.6 million contribution from the United States government and a combined donation of more than $25 million from Conservation International and the Nature Conservatory made the debt reduction possible.

The funds will help conserve some of Costa Rica’s vital forests, the forest ecosystems of the Osa Peninsula, and the La Amistad Biological Reserve.

“Forests in and around Tortuguero, Costa Rica’s third most visited national park and Maquenque Wildlife Refuge, support Costa Rica’s last remaining great green macaws and permit the altitudinal migration of birds and mammals such as the quetzal, bell bird, jaguar, and the tapir. The dry forest, cloud forest and rain forest north of Rincon de la Vieja permit many animals to adjust to changing climate conditions. Water recourses on Nicoya Peninsula are dependent on the health and fragile, fragmented forest ecosystems in and around Diria National Park,” stated the USAID release.

The TFCA program has been used 13 times. Including Costa Rica, it has been used twice in Panama, Belize, Botswana, Columbia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Jamaica, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, and Bangladesh. Together, this debt for nature programs will generate more than $163 million to protect tropical forests during the next 10 to 25 years.



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