Costa Rica leading the way

It is no coincidence that climate policy was the focus of Foreign Minister Westerwelle’s discussion with René Castro, the Foreign Minister of Costa Rica.The small Central American state is, after all, a frontrunner in the field.It is to become the world’s first climate-neutral country by 2021.

The two Ministers arranged for their countries to collaborate more closely on climate policy. As well as increasing its tropical rainforests, Costa Rica is working to develop a climate-neutral agricultural sector producing such items as pineapples and bananas to be sold to Germany and others.

Protecting the environment and the climate are high priorities for the Costa Rican population and Government. The area covered by forests has doubled in the last 20 years, and the country intends to become the first carbon-neutral state by 2021. This makes Costa Rica a pioneer – and not just in Latin America.

Organized crime and border disputes in the region

The Ministers also talked about the regional development of Latin America, and Central America in particular. Both expressed concern about the rise in organized crime on the sub-continent.

Federal Minister Westerwelle commended Costa Rica for the multilateral and peaceful approach it had taken to resolving its border dispute with Nicaragua by turning to the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

An old border dispute concerning just under 3 square kilometres of swamp in the delta of the San Juan flared up in October 2010 following Nicaraguan dredging work in the river, which marks the border between the two countries. Costa Rica filed proceedings with the International Court of Justice for breach of sovereignty and of environmental agreements on 18 November 2010.

Prioritizing Latin America

Westerwelle underlined Germany’s plans to give its relations with Latin America fresh impetus, pointing to the German Government’s new Latin American Strategy.

He said that the intention was to intensify relations with the countries in the region, since the continent’s economic potential and the democratic values it shared with Germany made it a priority of German foreign policy.

Last updated 18.01.2011

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