DUBAI, Costa Rica's Vice President Epsy Campbell Barr will head his ministerial delegation as the Guest of Honour to the seventh World Government Summit, WGS 2019, in Dubai. Costa Rica is one of the three guest countries this year, alongside Estonia and Rwanda.

In recent years, Costa Rica has sought to integrate happiness and quality of life into the heart of its public policies. The country highlighted its inspiring story during its participation in the Global Dialogue for Happiness at WGS 2018.

The Latin American country has also become a world leader in environmental sustainability policies. According to World Bank research, Costa Rica's pioneering Payment for Environmental Services programme has succeeded in promoting forest and biodiversity conservation, making it the only tropical country in the world to have reversed the effects of deforestation. Considering that 51 per cent of Costa Rica's total land mass comprises forests that are home to six percent of the planet's species, this is no small feat.

Always thinking ahead by addressing the concerns of today, Costa Rica takes coffee and its environmental impact seriously. Amid growing global concerns about the negative effects of the coffee industry on the environment � from single-use cups to daily emissions from plantations � the country has come up with the world's first Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action project in agriculture.

Working with over 3,000 producers with an investment of US$8 billion from international partners, Costa Rica seeks to transform coffee production into a low-carbon industry as part of its aim to become the first carbon-neutral country in the world by 2021.

Furthermore, Costa Rica has championed environmental tourism and has launched a host of policies that encourage zero-emission cars while increasing restraints on fossil fuel vehicles. Perhaps most notable is its sustainable approach to socioeconomic development. The country has invested in environment-friendly leisure destinations, and nationwide systems that measure greenhouse gas emissions and suggest ways to reverse their effects, such as the Programa Pais Carbono Neutralidad.

In addition, Costa Rica has become a role model for other Latin American countries with its peace and stability initiatives since demobilizing its army in 1949 and allocating all its defence budget for social development.

Costa Rica, along with the UAE, Portugal, Mexico, Kazakhstan, and Slovenia, is also part of the Global Happiness Coalition that was launched at the sixth edition of WGS in 2018.

Source: Emirates News Agency