Costa Rica to get $27 million in new debt swap program

Costa Rica will be forgiven $27 million over the next 15 years as part of an agreement with the U.S. government.

The Nature Conservancy also is involved in what is called a debt-for-nature exchange.

The agreements were made possible by the Tropical Forest Conservation Act of 1998, the State Department said. Together with a previous program established in 2007, these agreements make Costa Rica, one of the most biologically-diverse countries on earth, the largest beneficiary with more than $50 million generated for the conservation, restoration, and protection of tropical forests, said the U.S. government.

The new program will support the efforts of the Costa Rican government, working with the Forever Costa Rica
project, a new public/private conservation initiative, to develop and sustainably finance a complete and integrated system of protected areas, said the U.S. government. Grants will benefit areas such as the Osa Peninsula, including the Terraba-Sierpe mangrove swamps, the Naranjo/Savegre River complex, which contains some of the highest levels of biodiversity in Costa Rica, as well as La Amistad International Park, home to one of Central America’s largest and most diverse ecosystems, it said.

The new agreements were made possible by the contribution of more than $19.6 million by the U.S. government as well as a donation of more than $3.9 million from The Nature Conservancy. The program provides opportunities for eligible developing countries to reduce debt owed the United States while generating funds to conserve their forests, the U.S. government said. Costa Rica has benefited from an earlier agreement with the United States.

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