Costa Rica to strengthen its ability to design climate policies that result in positive long-term socio-economic impact

At a virtual workshop on 22 September 2020, a broad mix of national stakeholders gathered to initiate Costa Rica’s ICAT Phase II project. Over the next 15 months, the project aims to enhance the country’s ability to measure and subsequently shape climate policies and actions that result in sustainable development benefits and enable transformational change.

Building on the exemplary progress made in the Phase I project, ICAT will support Costa Rica to further analyze the sustainable development impact and transformational change potential from particular climate policies and actions. Implemented together with UNEP DTU Partnership, Fundación Fundecooperación para el Desarrollo Sostenible and the Climate Change Directorate of the Ministry of Environment and Energy, the project will equip the country with concrete tools to integrate systematic ways of measuring these long-term impacts of mitigation actions through a dedicated registry.

This is important for Costa Rica as the government believes that the climate change agenda cannot be viewed in isolation from the development agenda. According to Patricia Campos, Director of Climate Change at the Ministry of the Environment and Energy, “climate change must be an integral part of the transformation we seek: a decarbonized country that is simultaneously fairer, greener, that gives opportunities to the most vulnerable people, that generates well-being to the population and that will achieve economic reactivation within the framework of the pandemic.”

It is this focus on transformational change inherent within ICAT projects that appeals to Costa Rica. Ms Campos states “this is why we are very excited to start this project, in which we will work together with ICAT to generate procedures that allow us to systematically estimate the impacts on sustainable development and transformational change of the mitigation actions that we implement in Costa Rica. The project will allow us to better visualize and understand the relationship between both agendas, enhance positive relationships, reduce the impacts of negative ones and help us accelerate the transformation we seek.”

Costa Rica Phase II workshop

As part of the project, ICAT will also establish a number of mechanisms that will enable Costa Rica to implement its Decarbonization Plan which, considered a leading example on the global stage, aims to make the country a net-zero emission economy by 2050. The project will also strengthen the capacity to establish a domestic carbon market with transformational change as an additionality criterion.

According to Dr. Henning Wuester, Director of ICAT, the Phase II project will support Costa Rica to “systematically capture the key impacts of climate policies and actions on sustainable development, strengthen the engagement of stakeholders behind policy implementation and enable transformational change.”

In line with the type of practical support provided to ICAT partner countries over a series of short-term project phases, Costa Rica will utilize ICAT’s approach of being policy-focused to enable long-term transformational change, agile through flexible project design, innovative through sound methodologies and tools, country-driven through nationally demanded action, and inclusive through the sharing of knowledge and south-south cooperation.

Adriana Chacón-Cascante, Project Coordinator, highlights the value of ICAT’s approach of strengthening capacity at the national level by stating that: “the Phase II project will further benefit our country’s institutions through its capacity building components. This will facilitate the scaling up of the results obtained from the project, ensuring a more robust and effective transparency framework for Costa Rica.”

What did the ICAT Phase I project accomplish?

In the ICAT Phase I project, Costa Rica advanced the process to integrate both the registry of GHG reduction impacts and co-benefits associated with sustainable development and transformational change. The project also developed potential indicators for the country’s NDC targets in the transport sector. Additionally, the project further developed the SINAMECC Operational Guidance Document which allows users to identify and record the impact on sustainable development and transformational change.


The SINAMECC system, which is Costa Rica’s National Climate Change Metrics System (Sistema Nacional de Métrica de Cambio Climático), is specifically designed to improve data-based decision making on climate action and policy. The system was designed as open-source software with the explicit goal of sharing it with other countries and building an international community of practice. This “SINAMECC community” can then work together to maintain and improve the system, saving resources and improving South-South collaboration. ICAT supports this process and offers countries interested in using SINAMECC resources to tailor it to their needs and  circumstances. SINAMECC continues to be under active development and continuous improvement.

For more information 

Please contact the ICAT Secretariat for any enquiries related to country work, tool development or knowledge sharing. For questions regarding the ICAT Phase II project in Costa Rica, please contact Adriana Chacon-Cascante, (+506) 6059-2603.