Costa Rica, a small country in Central America, has recently been awarded the prestigious Prince William 2021 EARTHSHOT PRIZE  for its Payment for Environmental Services (PSA) program. The award recognizes the country’s efforts to protect and restore its natural environment while supporting the livelihoods of its citizens.

The PSA program was established in 1997 and has since become one of Costa Rica’s most successful environmental initiatives. It has helped to increase forest cover from 21% in 1987 to over 50% in 2021, making Costa Rica one of the few countries in the world to reverse deforestation. The program has also supported the restoration of degraded areas, protected watersheds, and promoted sustainable land use practices.

The Pax Natura Foundation has been instrumental in the success of the PSA program, working closely with the Costa Rican government for 20 years to develop and implement the initiative.

One of the key strengths of the PSA program is its inclusivity. It recognizes the rights and needs of local communities and Indigenous peoples, who are often the most affected by environmental degradation and who have a vital role to play in protecting natural resources.

The EARTHSHOT PRIZE: Protect and Restore Nature, is a significant recognition of the PSA program’s achievements and an inspiration for others to follow. It highlights the importance of taking a collaborative approach to environmental conservation, recognizing that sustainability is not just about protecting the environment, but also about ensuring the well-being and prosperity of people and communities.

The success of the PSA program also demonstrates that effective environmental policies are not only possible but also essential for the long-term health and prosperity of our planet. It shows that by working together, we can achieve a sustainable future and create a world where both people and nature thrive.

In conclusion, the PSA program in Costa Rica is a remarkable example of how a country can balance economic development with environmental protection and social justice. It is a program that serves as an inspiration to the world, and it is a reminder that we all have a role to play in protecting the planet. Congratulations to Costa Rica for their well-deserved recognition. We are proud of their efforts and pleased to have played a significant role in the success of the program.

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