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Protect and Restore Nature


Square kilometres of additional Marine Protected Areas created off the coast of Costa Rica


Tonnes of water saved by 2023 Winner Kheyti compared to conventional farming methods


People reached and helped by The Pole Pole Foundation since becoming a Finalist

Featured Finalist Impact

Costa Rica man reaches into tree leaves

Republic of Costa Rica

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Their Mission

In the 1990s, Costa Rica’s forests, home to a staggering 5% of the world’s flora and fauna, were under threat. Half had been cut down for logging and farming. It pioneered two policies to end the destruction and turn this around. These schemes pay ordinary citizens, including indigenous communities, to plant trees, protect forests and restore ecosystems.

Use of Prize Money

The Earthshot Prize money is being used to restore and protect species in Cocos Island National Park, training and equipping park rangers to control invasive species. Some is also being used to design a new ‘payment for marine ecosystem services’ model, taking what has worked for forests and applying it to the marine areas that make up 92% of the national territory.

Key Milestones

Since becoming an Earthshot Prize Winner, Costa Rica continues to be an environmental leader. It has signed an extension of its marine reserves into law and increased the protected marine area from 3 per cent to the High Ambition Coalition target of 30 per cent. This has been made possible through the expansion of Cocos Island National Park and the creation of a Bicentennial Marine Management Area, which is three times the size of Costa Rica’s land territory.

Environmental and Social Impact

The expanded Cocos Island National Park and its surrounding marine protected area will now cover almost 55,000 square kilometres, 26 times bigger than its previous size. In addition, the nearby Bicentennial Marine Management Area has expanded to 11 times its previous size, encompassing more than 106,000 square kilometres — roughly equivalent to the size of Iceland.

Connections Made

Through The Earthshot Prize, Costa Rica partnered with fellow 2021 Finalist Restor to track over 5,000 restoration and conservation projects, making it the first nation to publicly showcase its restoration and conservation projects on Restor’s platform.

Finalist Highlights


After introductions by The Earthshot Prize, the Ecological Restoration Fund provided a grant to The Pole Pole Foundation to help restore wildlife corridors. They also gave a grant to Hutan, which will help the charity improve biodiversity in the farms and forests of Kinabatangan in Malaysia. Similarly, through The Earthshot Prize, Restor was introduced to Global Alliance Founding Partner Coleman Family Ventures, resulting in a $1.2m (£972,000) grant to grow their platform.

Support and Connections

To increase transparency and reduce the time and costs associated with project monitoring, Restor is piloting an AI model that identifies trees in photos taken by drones. In October and November 2023, more than 150 Bloomberg employees worked with them to improve the algorithm through a ‘Tag Trees’ citizen science project. Bloomberg is also providing support to Restor to replicate and expand the project in 2024.

Key Milestones

Since becoming a Finalist, Restor has grown its team and launched version two of its platform. Recently it launched a new collaboration with FAO, where Restor data will feed into country dashboards to support with progress reporting.

In 2023, Desert Agricultural Transformation partnered with an international enterprise in China to commercialise its technology. It has now turned 10 desert sites to arable land using its ‘soilization’ technology, and launched operations in new sites in China and Saudi Arabia.

Environmental and Social

Since becoming Finalists, the first two cohorts in the ‘Protect and Restore Nature’ category have saved 2.5 million tonnes of water and improved the livelihoods of over 4,000 people.

The Pole Pole Foundation has reached over 1,800 people. 500 community members from local villages have been involved in its vital reforestation work. Through education projects it has trained 80 young locals about sustainable and fed and treated 163 malnourished youngsters with supplies of spirulina.

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The Earthshot Prize