Why Costa Rica is the place to start co-creating the Inner Development Goals (IDGs) manifesto?

By José Vicente Troya Rodríguez, Resident Representative, United Nations Development Programme - Costa Rica

17 de Diciembre de 2021

This country is blessed by the exceptionality of its nature. This is a surprising space in Mesoamerica, whose nature has allowed herself the whim of being traveled by a celestial river (Río Celeste it is said in Spanish), a place where the Moon believes she is the Sun and, listen to me well, where jaguars meet the sea. Imagine a jaguar walking on a beach where the sea and its waves are the canvas where the silhouette of the big cat is drawn. I am a citizen who comes from a land of jaguars but had never heard of such an occurrence in nature. In short, I am talking about a country where it is possible to redefine the word amazement.

A country that inspires us and gives us the privilege of resuming respectful conversations with nature and people.

A nation that makes it possible to restart the dialogue with the green, blue, orange and purple of its economy, with its landscapes and ecosystems, and primarily with its society and the diversity of its people. People from a very exceptional country where there has been no army for more than 70 years and where the bar is so high that its people often wonder "how can we live up to the legacy we have received". And these same people are showing us that a powerful climate action and an inclusive, decarbonized, and sustainable green recovery is possible and does not require long maturation times.

This is a country showing us that it is imperative to break down false dilemmas such as "either we prioritize development, or we dedicate ourselves to climate action." Or alleged trade-offs between protecting nature or protecting people.

A nation which has identified that dismantling stereotypes and demolishing false beliefs is the beginning of the road for embracing the wholeness required for reconnecting with nature and people.

Starting to unlearn what is known is part of the task. Allowing us mental licenses to transgress. This country is enabling the adoption of a new creed where:

• Climate action is development.

• Conserving nature is prosperity.

• Creating protected areas is increasing resilience and mental health.

• And even more daring, saving the forests pays and pays well.

This highlights the way Costa Rica is addressing the link between the destiny of the planet and the well-being of people. Costa Rica has endorsed and taken for some decades now, a development path that we consider clear, decisive, inclusive, and innovative, inspired by environmental sustainability and the urgent need to put women, in all their diversity, at the center of accelerating the Agenda 2030.

This country has taken on the challenge of transforming its economy, reducing pollution, and generating community resilience mechanisms that have allowed it to contribute to the reduction of environmental pressures and to position a green model, which can generate greater prosperity, equality, and healthier life.

These actions are recognized in UNDP’s Human Development Report 2020, where Costa Rica is the country that rises the most in the Human Development Index when adjusted by planetary pressures. In total, it rises 37 positions and is ranked as the country with the highest ranking in Latin America and number 25 globally.

This is a country that allow-us a greater self-awareness and developing a long-term orientation and visioning such as the one we shared in one of our staff meetings in UNDP Costa Rica when I proposed our team to pause and start an inner reflection on the following dream:

“Let's travel 30 years into the future --I told them--. We are in Costa Rica in the year 2050 surrounded by our daughters, grandchildren and great-granddaughters enjoying a friendly sunset in a forest where the sound of a stream and the song of birds are heard and the splendor of the landscape blesses us, and suddenly the smallest of the great-granddaughters says grandma, grandpa, what did you do in your time, in the twenties, so that we can now, in the fifties, enjoy this moment of splendor?”

This is the kind of visioning that Costa Rica provokes.

To sum up this is a country which gives us the opportunity to calibrate the accuracy of our inner compass, expanding our mindsets of curiosity, re – imagining the word amazement, developing a strong sense of connectedness to enjoy nature and people, co-creating new core tenets for development by disrupting conventional patterns and demolishing false dilemmas. Remember?

• Climate Action is Development,

• Protecting Nature is Prosperity,

• Women at the center of this Transformation it´s imperative.

Costa Rica, its people –women and men--, its ecosystems and biodiversity, its nature, are the right place to start the co-creation of the IDGs manifesto.

Thank you so much!