Costa Rica

Country Information

Important Dates

MRP first draft submission: 
October 2012
Allocation of Implementation Funding: 
March 2013

Market-based Approach


Mt. Poas, Costa Rica. Photo source: Flickr, Carlos Reusser MonsalvezCosta Rica aspires to carbon neutrality by 2021.

Costa Rica aims to develop a carbon neutral economy by 2021. A big part of achieving this has been the successful use the country's wealth in natural resources to develop a eco-based tourist economy. To complement this transition and to contribute toward the carbon neutrality goal, Costa Rica plans to use PMR support to achieve the following: 

  • Design a domestic carbon market;
  • Build capacity for GHG data reporting and the registration of GHG emissions reductions;
  • Strengthen domestic demand for emission reduction units; and
  • Consolidate supply of emission units across a range of sectors.


Crediting and Offsetting

Costa Rica has two domestic financial instruments that could support crediting and offsetting:

  1. The Certifiable Tradable Offset, or CTO, is a crediting instrument for placing GHG offsets in the international marketplace. A CTO represents a specific amount of greenhouse gas emissions expressed in carbon equivalent units reduced or sequestered. The home-country verification process certifies that the offsets are verifiable. This means that if such crediting were permitted under the UNFCCC, such offsets could count against national and company-level GHG reduction commitments. Ultimately, Costa Rica aims to have a domestic market for CTOs similar to the market for sulphur oxides (SOx) in the United States. Conversations were held with Natsource Energy Brokers and The Centre for Financial Products, an active participant in the development of SOx, but the idea proved to be early for its time.
  2. The Costa Rican Compensation Units (UCC) is a carbon offset class. It represent emissions avoided, reduced, removed, and stored and that have been monitored, reported, and verified. A UCC must be registered with the official entity that will manage the registry system and is tradable within the Costa Rican domestic market.

National Context

Mitigation Target

Since 2007, Costa Rica has pledged to reach carbon neutrality by 2021. This commitment is incorporated into the 2011-2014 National Development Plan (NDP), the country´s highest-level statement on public policy, and the National Climate Change Strategy (NCCS), a long-term strategy for sustainable development that seeks to align the country’s low carbon growth and eco-competitiveness strategies.

Costa Rica's energy sector contributes 46% of its emissions while the agricultural sector (primarily livestock) adds an additional 37%. Waste management and industrial processes jointly add close to 16%. In addition to forest conservation, Costa Rica targets the following areas for mitigation: power generation, agriculture and livestock, solid waste management, transport, and sustainable building sectors. (Data based on 2005 National GHG Inventory.)

Achieving the Target

Costa Rica, through the NCCS, intends to establish a Domestic Carbon Market as the primary policy tool to achieve Carbon Neutrality. It is designed to assist Costa Rica to meet its target in the most flexible and cost-effective way, while also providing a financial incentive to the private sector for investment in low emissions technology research, development,and commercialization, and to develop the country’s eco-competitive strategies. 

The Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) is in charge of implementing the Strategy at the national level, mainly through its Directorate of Climate Change (DCC). The DCC was mandated by Decree No. 35669-MINAET, January 6, 2010. The Decree establishes the context for policy-making within the National Climate Change Program, explicitly through the creation of new capacities and the integration of a platform for knowledge exchange in climate change mitigation and adaptation. The DCC is finalizing NCCS´s Action Plan, which is envisioned as a reference point for policy design and implementation, while strengthening education and public awareness processes.

Other entities directly related to implementation of the country’s climate change agenda are the Costa Rican Office for Joint Implementation (OCIC) which was established in April 1996, National Forestry Financing Fund (FONAFIFO), the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC), the Office for Environmental Quality Management (DIGECA) and the National Environmental Technical Secretariat.

Focal Point

Costa Rica's MRP is implemented by the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE)

All Documents & Presentations

Other Documents & Presentations
Document Language Date
PDF icon Costa Rica: VII Plan Nacional de Energía 2015-2030 (April 2016) English April 2016
Country Work
Document Language Date
File Costa Rica: Assessing Climate Finance Options for Transformation English June 2016
PDF icon Costa Rica: Transportation - Climate Change’s Next Challenge (April 2016) English April 2016
PDF icon Costa Rica: PMR Project Implementation Status Report English April 2016
PDF icon Costa Rica: Summary of the INDC Process English June 2015
PDF icon Costa Rica: The Carbon Market (MCCR) English March 2014
PDF icon Costa Rica: The Role of Market Instruments in the Carbon Neutrality Goal English March 2013
PDF icon Costa Rica: Draft Market Readiness Proposal English October 2012
PDF icon Costa Rica: Draft Market Readiness Proposal Presentation English October 2012
PDF icon Costa Rica: MRP Expert Feedback Presentation English October 2012
PDF icon Costa Rica: Market Readiness Proposal Update (May 2012) English May 2012
PDF icon Costa Rica: Country Update 1 (February 2012) English February 2012
PDF icon Costa Rica: Country Update 2 (February 2012) English February 2012
PDF icon Costa Rica: Organizing Framework English May 2011
PDF icon Costa Rica: Expression of Interest Letter English January 2011
PDF icon Costa Rica: Expression of Interest (EoI) English January 2011
PDF icon Costa Rica: Participant Feedback on draft MRP English
Document Language Date
PDF icon Resolution PA5/2013-2: Allocation of the Implementation Phase Funding to Costa Rica English March 2013
PDF icon Resolution ORG-3: Implementing Country Participants' Participation English April 2011
Document Language Date
PDF icon 2019 Costa Rica PMR Project Implementaion Status Report English May 2019
PDF icon Costa Rica: Contribuciones Nacionales en Mitigacion English April 2016