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Learn from Costa Rica and play your part in addressing climate crisis, envoy urges

 CCosta Rica’s Ambassador to Kenya  Giovanna Valverde Stark and MUST Vice Chancellor Romanus Odhiambo. [Phares Mutembei, Standard]

Costa Rica’s Ambassador to Kenya Giovanna Valverde Stark has urged industries and other organisations to play their parts in addressing the climate crisis.

Speaking at Meru University of Science and Technology (MUST) where Vice Chancellor Prof Romanus Odhiambo hosted a sustainable development and climate change lecture, Ms Stark said Governments who were signatories to various climate agreements must do their part in mitigation efforts.

Stark who is also acting as Permanent Representative to the United Nations Environmental Programme, and UN-Habitat, said to tackle climate change nations should fulfil their commitments.

She noted Costa Rica had made big gains in climate protection and that 99 per cent of its energy comes from renewable sources, something others can learn from.

Ms Stark said re-forestation was one of the most important issues on the planet that countries should implement, pointing to the example of her country which reversed degradation and now has become a model nation, regarding climate actions.

“In the 80s’ we (Costa Rica) had reached an 80 per cent deforestation due to agriculture and livestock expansion,” she told participants.

She said her country started the first “Payment Environmental Services” in the ‘90s and financed it through a 3.5 per cent levy on fossil fuels to pay for the environmental services of private conservation areas- the world’s first carbon tax.

“We reverted from 80 per cent deforestation to our current 52 per cent coverage,” she revealed.

She said the tiny country (51, 000 sq metres) with a population of 5.1 million people, now has six per cent of the planet’s biodiversity, underlining its achievement as a major global conservationist.

The country also launched a National Decarbonisation Plan (2018-2050) and focused on transportation, agriculture, and industry sectors to address emissions.

Last year Costa Rica also launched their National Strategy for Blue Carbon, focusing on wetlands and mangrove restoration.

“We commit to 60 per cent of forest cover by 2030,” she said.

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