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Tackling Climate Change: the view from Costa Rica as a Developing Country

LSE public lecture

Climate change is one of the most important challenges that human kind has ever faced. Even though its causes are diverse and the greenhouse emissions vary from one country to another, the consequences are cumulative and global. It is, thus, essential that, without delay, we all assume responsibility and take actions both towards reducing our contribution to the problem and mitigating its effects. Costa Rica has decided to take immediate action by unilaterally declaring its goal to become a carbon-neutral country by 2021. The decision brings it in alignment with its local and global responsibilities and while in accordance with the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities.” To achieve its objective, the Costa Rican Government has prepared a National Strategy on Climate Change entitled The Peace with Nature Initiative whose main pillars are: mitigation; adaptation; metrics; capability development and technology transfer; public awareness, education, and cultural change; and financing. Costa Rica is aware that the actions to be developed need to be consistent with and integral part of the country’s development policy, its economic growth plan and its poverty reduction strategy. In this way, it aims to show the world that “it is not only possible to have economic development in harmony with the environment, but that the route to achieve development is precisely that which utilizes natural resources wisely.”

Born in San José, Costa Rica in 1940, Dr. Arias studied law and economics at the University of Costa Rica and later received a doctoral degree in Political Science at the University of Essex, England. He served his first term as President of Costa Rica from 1986-90. Dr. Arias was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for his work to end the military conflicts in Central America, culminating with the signing of the Esquipulas II Accords that year. After leaving office, he dedicated himself to working with the Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Progress, the NGO he established with the monetary proceeds of the Nobel Prize.

In 2006 he was elected to a second term as President, becoming the first Nobel Laureate in history to be elected to a nation’s top office after winning that prize. He will serve until 2010. The fight against poverty, the reduction of crime, the expansion of the education system and the promotion of investment in research and infrastructure in Costa Rica are at the top of his domestic agenda. Internationally, he continues to advocate for a comprehensive Arms Trade Treaty, free trade, and the “Costa Rica Consensus” to establish new criteria for debt relief based on social investment and demilitarization.


President Oscar Arias Sánchez | talks
Chair: Howard Davies | talks


Date and Time:

4 September 2008 at 6:30 pm


1 hour 30 minutes



LSE campus, venue TBC to ticketholders
London School of Economics
Houghton Street

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Organised by:

London School of Economics & Political Science
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Available from:

This event is free and open to all however a ticket is required. One ticket per person can be requested from 10.00am on Tuesday 26 August.

Members of the public, LSE staff and alumni can request one ticket via the online ticket request form which will be live on this weblisting from 10.00am on Tuesday 26 August.

LSE students are able to collect one ticket from the LSESU reception, located on the ground floor of the East Building from 10.00am on Tuesday 26 August.

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