The United Nations has awarded Costa Rica a 2019 Champions of the Earth award, the organization's highest environmental honour. 

A waterfall is shown in the distance in a deep, lush and dark green rainforest.
Costa Rica has been recognized by the UN for its environmental efforts ©

The country was recognized in the policy leadership category for its “role in the protection of nature and its commitment to ambitious policies to combat climate change,” according to the UN. Costa Rica has made sustainability targets a top priority, creating a plan to decarbonize its economy – meaning it will produce no more emissions than it can offset through efforts like expanding forests –  by 2050, which is in line with the Paris Climate Agreement. 

The UN notes that more than 98% of Costa Rica’s energy already comes from renewable sources and the country plans to reach 100% renewable energy by 2030. The country made headlines back in 2017 after running for 300 days only on renewable power. 

The country has been given the award for showing that sustainability is achievable and economically viable. The award is designed to not only recognize leaders like Costa Rica, but to spotlight the overall need to find solutions to climate change. 

“Climate change demands urgent and transformative action from all of us. With its ambitious plans to decarbonize the economy, Costa Rica is rising to that challenge,” said Inger Andersen, executive director of the UN environment programme, in a statement. “Global emissions are reaching record levels and we must act now to move to cleaner, more resilient economies.'' 

Costa Rica celebrated World Environment Day by creating a new national park

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