Methodologies for supporting Costa Rica’s climate aspirations

Developing methodologies for assessing sustainable development and transformational change for the national climate monitoring system

October 29, 2021

The Initiative for Climate Action Transparency (ICAT) has just concluded a second phase of implementation in Costa Rica, developing guidance for assessing the sustainable development and transformational change impacts of climate change actions. Such guidance is developed with the goal of integrating monitoring of sustainable development and transformation change impacts in the National Climate Change Monitoring System (SINAMECC).

To develop the guidance documents, Costa Rica took as a starting point the ICAT methodologies, and, supported by UNEP Copenhagen Climate Centre experts, engaged in a thorough process of methodological development, using pilots, and stakeholder engagement, to create guidance documents tailor-made for Costa Rica.

Piloting of the methodologies focused on mitigation actions currently implemented in Costa Rica, in the mobility, forestry and waste sectors, and was conducted with the support of stakeholders involved in the design and implementation of such actions.

In parallel, the transformational change impacts were evaluated as a way for assessing additionality of climate actions for the national carbon market.

ICAT has worked with Costa Rica since 2016, and these results mark the end of the second phase of ICAT Costa Rica. The project is lead by the National Climate Change Directorate, and supported by Fundecooperacion para el Desarollo Sostenible, and UNEP Copenhagen Climate Centre.

Read more about UNEP Copenhagen Climate Centre’s work through ICAT.

Raising awareness

The project has also developed training and communication material for the purpose of raising awareness and building capacity among key stakeholder and civil society.

An e-learning platform for capacity building on sustainable development and transformational change (called Aula Climatica) with courses, videos, and presentations on the topic was created.

ICAT also supported the organisation of the first Climate Transparency Week of Costa Rica, which took place in August 2021, with the goal of sharing knowledge on various aspects of climate transparency, among others also sustainable development and transformational change.

Lessons learned

The project has showcased how ICAT methodologies can be adopted by a country, tailor-made for its specific use, and applied for assessing sustainable development and transformational change impacts of climate actions.

Engaging stakeholders in the piloting of the methodologies was one of the keys of success in the project, as it provided a room for testing the guides and receiving feedback. There were also significant benefits from the leadership of the Climate Change Directorate and Ministry of Environment and Energy, acknowledging the important link between climate, sustainable development, and transformational change.

Nevertheless, some barriers that may hamper the uptake of these assessment approaches on a large scale exist.
For example in relation to the knowledge, skills, and time required to carry out the analyses. An iterative process of piloting, stakeholder engagement, and methodology development can help  reduce the time required for the assessment, create the necessary know-how, and inform the establishment of institutional arrangements, which can contribute to overcome these barriers. Such options will be further explored in future collaborations between Costa Rica and ICAT.

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