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Costa Rica Presents Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Model Initiatives

7 December 2012: During the Doha Climate Change Conference, Costa Rica, with assistance from the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), presented seven examples of how agriculture can both mitigate and adapt to climate change.

The presentations were made by Costa Rica's Environment and Agriculture Ministers at a side event to COP 18. Agriculture Minister Gloria Abraham Peralta summarized the seven model projects on: family agriculture, integrated farms and climate change; public-private initiatives in the banana sector aimed at achieving carbon neutrality; climate change risk management in planning agricultural and rural development; research and technology transfer serving small and medium-sized producers; "win-win" initiatives in sugarcane production; promoting agro-environmental management in milk production; and the Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) for Costa Rica's coffee sector.

She explained, for example, how the coffee sector is seeking to cut its use of nitrogenated fertilizers, reduce water use in coffee processing, use wastewater to irrigate pastures, use byproducts and biomass to generate energy, and promote agro-forestry systems through a payment for environmental services (PES) system rewarding intercropping of timber, legume or endangered plant species with the goal of sequestering up to 34 metric tons of carbon per hectare.

Environment, Energy and Telecommunications Minister René Castro explained how the seven initiatives fit into the context of Costa Rica's National Climate Change Strategy and its goal of achieving national carbon neutrality by 2021. He renewed Costa Rica's call for the impact and role of the agricultural sector to be fully accounted for within the context of any new climate change agreement.

David Williams, Manager of IICA's Agriculture, Natural Resources and Climate Change Program, praised the Costa Rican initiatives as demonstrating leadership in climate change policy and urged other countries to consider its examples as possible approaches to emulate in their own agricultural sectors. The IICA is a specialized agency of the Organization of American States (OAS). [IICA Press Release] [Case Studies]