June 12, 2018

ICCF Welcomes New Costa Rican President on Capitol Hill

H.E. Carlos Alvarado Quesada, President of the Republic of Costa Rica, joined ICCF on June 12th on Capitol Hill to address members of the U.S. Congressional International Conservation Caucus and ICCF’s business and NGO partners. In his address, the President spoke of Costa Rica’s demonstrated commitment to protecting its wealth of natural resources, a successful model for balancing conservation and economic development.

Costa Rica houses nearly five percent of the world’s biodiversity, devoting an estimated 26 percent of its land to national parks, wildlife reserves, and protected lands, which, in combination with a sustainable ecotourism industry, has driven economic growth in the country. Ecotourism in Costa Rica has allowed visitors, many of whom come from the United States, to experience the country’s vast natural wealth and build environmental awareness. Costa Rica attracts 1.7 million tourists each year, most of whom come for ecotourism activities. As a result, ecotourism, which produces a large portion of the $1.7 billion in annual tourism dollars for the country, serves as a sustainable way to generate national income while conserving the environment, respecting local culture, and empowering local people.

In his address, President Alvarado invited Members of Congress to “work together regardless of our differences and lead the world through accurate political decisions.” Working together toward common objectives is key, the President stressed, adding that collaboration and innovation are necessary in order to adequately address global conservation challenges. It was through innovative solutions, the President said, that Costa Rica was able to recover its forests and biodiversity in a way that has enabled it to simultaneously develop its economy. Continued innovation, he said, is needed for Costa Rica’s next conservation frontier--its oceans and coastal landscapes--which make up 92 percent of the national territory. His cabinet, he says, is currently working with local fishermen and businesses in order to effectively protect these precious water resources.

Sworn in on April 1, 2018, Carlos Alvarado is the 48th President of the Republic of Costa Rica. Prior to his election, President Alvarado served as Minister of Labor and Social Security and had previously held posts as Minister of Human Development and Social Inclusion and Executive President of the Joint Social Welfare Institute.

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