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Costa Rica man reaches into tree leaves
2021 Winner
and Restore Nature

Republic of Costa Rica

Costa Rica
Nominated by:
United Nations Development Programme

In the 1990s, the vast forests of Costa Rica were devastated by unregulated exploitation. But Costa Rica’s government had a plan to save them.

Their Story

The results were extraordinary. By compensating Costa Ricans to plant trees and restore ecosystems, its forests doubled in size, flora and fauna thrived, leading to a boom in ecotourism that has injected $4billion to the economy. 

Since winning the 2021 Earthshot Prize to Protect and Restore Nature, Costa Rica continues to be a leader driving the global environmental agenda, signing an extension of its marine reserves into law which has increased its protected marine area from 3% of its ocean territory to the High Ambition Coalition target of 30%. 

This prompted the Bezos Earth Fund to provide additional grants totalling $30M to support organisations working in Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador and Panama to strengthen the Eastern Tropical Marine Corridor at the UN Oceans Conference.

The Earthshot Prize’s recognition of Costa Rica has driven significant global media coverage, celebrating the country as a ‘green leader’.

And in addition, through The Earthshot Prize, Costa Rica has been able to partner with fellow 2021 Finalist Restor who will track thousands of small payments for Ecoystem Services Reforestation Projects and the total new forest cover being achieved by Costa Rica. This will enable ever-smarter national policy decisions on reforestation, enhanced performance of the individual reforestation projects, and will empower Costa Rica to easily demonstrate its progress in meeting its COP26 reforestation pledge.


Other Finalists in Protect & Restore Nature

Learn About the Earthshots

and Restore

By 2030, we choose to ensure that, for the first time in human history, the natural world is growing – not shrinking – on our planet. 

This Earthshot focuses on three main areas of interest: 

  1. Protecting areas of high biodiversity such as forests, wetland, peatlands and wildlife corridors
  2. Restoring damaged ecosystems
  3. Feeding people while protecting nature
Learn more about this Earthshot

Clean Our

By 2030 we choose to ensure that everyone in the world breathes clean, healthy air – at World Health Organization standard or better. 

This Earthshot focuses on three main areas of interest: 

  1. Engaging citizens in data collection and clean air policies
  2. Preventing the burning of fields, forests and waste
  3. Transitioning to clean transportation for all
Learn more about this Earthshot

Revive Our

By 2030, we choose to repair and preserve our oceans for future generations. 

This Earthshot focuses on three main areas of interest: 

  1. Protecting and restoring coastal ecosystems
  2. Replenishing fish populations
  3. Reducing demand for fishmeal
Learn more about this Earthshot

Build a

By 2030, we choose to build a world where nothing goes to waste, where the leftovers of one process become the raw materials of the next – just like they do in nature. 

This Earthshot focuses on three main areas of interest: 

  1. Reducing food loss from farm to fork
  2. Phasing out single-use and non-recycled plastics
  3. High-value circularity in fashion and electronics
Learn more about this Earthshot

Fix Our

We choose to fix the world’s climate by cutting out carbon: building a carbon neutral economy that lets every culture, community and country thrive. 

This Earthshot focuses on three main areas of interest: 

  1. Creating an equitable clean energy future
  2. Addressing non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions
  3. Decarbonising hard to abate sectors
Learn more about this Earthshot
The Earthshot Prize