Costa Rica and US in debt swap for conservation.

The largest debt nature swap made by the United States to date

Costa Rica and the United States have agreed to a debt-for-conservation swap. This is the largest debt-for-nature swap in history by the US.

In the agreement Costa Rica will receive a pardon of over 26 million dollars. In turn Costa Rica will have to invest $26,076,942 in forest conservation programs from November 2007 until the year 2024.

Additionally, Costa Rica received a donation of $2,524,866 from the Foundation for International Conservation and the The Nature Conservancy .

This program was established by the U.S. Tropical Forest Conservation Act (TFCA) of the United States to offer eligible developing countries options to relieve certain official debt owed the U.S. Government while at the same time generating funds in local currency to support tropical forest conservation activities.

Roberto Dobles, Minister of Environment and Energy (MINAE) in Costa Rica, said that the chosen zones for this swap are Pen�nsula de Osa, La Amistad , Tortuguero , Maquenque Wild Life Refuge , North Area of Rinc�n de la Vieja and some areas of Pen�nsula de Nicoya, which will cover almost 2 million hectares of forest.

The first lump sum of $462,291 will be processed November 15th, 2007.

Countries as Belize, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Jamaica, Panam�, Paraguay, Per� y Filipinas have also signed up to participate in this conservation program.

Four Conservation Agreements

David Heninfin, in charge of the business affairs in the U.S.A Embassy in Costa Rica, explained that in this nature swap process the following four agreements were approved by TFCA:

1. Agreement of Forest Conservation between the Costa Rican Government, the Costa Rican Central Bank, The Nature Conservancy and the Foundation for International Conservation.

2. Agreement between the United States Government, the Costa Rica Central Bank (BCCR), in relation to debt swap for nature.

3. Agreement between the United States Government and the Costa Rica Government in relation to a debt swap for nature program under the U.S. Tropical Forest Conservation Act (TFCA).

4. Contract and agreement comision of the swap transactions between the U.S.A Government, the Conservation International Support and The Nature Conservancy.

October, 2007

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