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Guide launched for local governments in Costa Rica to move towards a circular economy

  • The circular economy represents an essential step towards achieving climate goals. According to the UN, a fully circular economy would reduce resource use by 28% and carbon emissions by 72%.

September 22, 2021. In order to disseminate the circular economy approach and provide Costa Rican local governments and other local stakeholders with guidelines on how to materialize their interest in moving towards a circular economy through actions at different levels: public administration, social and business, the official launch of the Step by Step Guide to Facilitate the Transition to a Circular Economy from Local Governments took place on September 16.

A document that summarizes theoretical aspects of the circular economy and analyzes the link between the circular economy and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as practical aspects that seek to enable local government action around the circular economy.

Its development was generated from a process of inter-institutional coordination between the Ministry of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica (MINAE, its Spanish acronym), together with the Institute for Municipal Development and Advisory Services (IFAM, its Spanish acronym), to influence local territorial development and economic reactivation processes, together with the interest of the Municipality of Turrialba to support circular economy processes at the cantonal level. The guide was financed by the Climate Technology Center and Network (CTCN) and was prepared by CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center).

"Moving towards a circular economy requires the participation of multiple actors, including local governments, entities that have a catalytic role because many of the measures and actions must be implemented and executed at the local level, as well as the proximity they have with citizens. Once local governments understand the benefits of applying a circular economy approach, learn about the successful experiences of other local governments and have tools, such as this guide, they will be in a better position to lead the required transformation and achieve sustainable development, reducing the ecological footprint in their territories," said Leida Mercado, co-author of the guide, together with Diana Rivera.

Muhammad Ibrahim, director general of CATIE, noted that studies indicate that more than 90% of raw materials used globally do not return to the economy, resulting in massive overexploitation of the planet's finite natural resources and a burden on the climate. "Local governments are sufficiently well positioned to contribute to the transition to a circular economy and can benefit from this shift. Undoubtedly, the development of tools, such as the step-by-step guide, strengthens their capacities to act more effectively on the issue," added Ibrahim.

Rolando Castro, Vice Minister of Energy of MINAE, emphasized that the guide represents a step forward in the implementation of international commitments that Costa Rica has acquired, both at the level of climate change and the Convention on Biological Diversity of the SDGs and the country's incorporation into the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), as well as the decarbonization plan.

Vice Minister Castro also announced that Costa Rica, with the support of CTCN, will work on its national circular economy strategy, with the objective of having an integrated vision of the different public actors and policies that will enable a new way of producing, where waste generation is reduced and minimized, reused, recycled and revalued with a win-win perspective for the environment and the economy.

During the virtual launch of the guide, a panel was held with the participation of Diana Ramos, regional coordinator of CTCN; Patricia Campos, director of the Climate Change Directorate of MINAE; Edmundo Abellán, head of Municipal Strengthening of IFAM; and Luis Fernando León, mayor of Turrialba, who gave their perspectives and opinions on the value and contributions of the guide to the circular economy.

The Step-by-Step Guide to Facilitate the Transition to a Circular Economy from Local Governments can be consulted and downloaded through the following link http://hdl.handle.net/11554/11166.   



More information:

Leida Mercado
Researcher Environment for Development Unit (EfD-CA)
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Written by:

Karla Salazar Leiva
Information Technology and Communication
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