Lessons learnt

The workflow showed that the data recompilation using available web sources and older reports from various institutions significantly enriched the climate data base resulting in a greater spatial resolution that would otherwise not have been possible. The data base is used to calculate the proposed biodiversity indices. We found that the initial contact established with the German International Cooperation (GIZ) and subsequent meetings as a bridge to the National Park Authority (SINAC) in terms of the national biocorridor program helped shaping the designed workflow ensuring a more efficient and useful support for decision making as we could (and continue to) tailor the products towards the specific needs of our partners.

Importance and relevance of adaptation

Up until recently there was no real consideration of adaptation to climate change nor an adaptation strategy in place in Costa Rica. However, with the official ratification of the UN Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, climate change was identified as one of the most important drivers of disaster risk. Consideration of the potential impacts of climate change have lead to increased efforts to build resilience, which was also recognized to be more feasible through adaptation. Since Costa Rica has a long history of environmental protection and markets itself as a biodiversity hotspot to attract eco-tourism in parts maintained by a Payment for Ecosystem Services scheme (PES), concerns have been raised about the effectiveness of protected areas to guarantee biodiversity in a changing climate. Parts of this project’s effort is directed to help identify climate sensitive areas in and around protected areas such as the biological corridors, which might show that currently unprotected areas should be considered and included in conservation as an adaptation measure.

Pros and cons or cost-benefit analysis of climate adaptation

Cost-benefit analysis of climate adaptation is just starting in Costa Rica as part of the GIZ supporting role to the National Park authority SINAC. This project and the data it will generate can help in this regard, but it will need longer term and continuous assessments of the changes potentially being introduced by implemented adaptation strategies. This type of monitoring over time will show the effectiveness of adaptation or lead to a modification of the initial strategy.

Policy aspects

This project pretends to provide useful information for the client’s decision-making process, which in the past was severely hindered by the lack of data. Open access to the results and generated data is therefore an important aspect and objective of this work. However, any decision making in terms of climate adaption measures in Costa Rica will be legally bound to be passed as a law in the Parliament, which is a rather slow and political issue. Despite the final decision depending on politics, the client is developing the capacity to continuously drive the agenda through monitoring of changes and subsequently evaluating the effectiveness and need for adaptation measures.

Universidad de Costa Rica

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit

Sistema Nacional de Areas de Conservacion Costa Rica

Poster displayed at the Kick–Off meeting, 7/8 September 2017, Norrköping, Sweden