Costa Rica is a tiny country in Central America with 4.85 million people. It also hosts more than 5% of the world's biodiversity despite a landmass that covers just 0.03% of the planet. Despite its small size and population, Costa Rica has provided inspiration for the whole world and through this blog, I am highlighting three of its major achievements.
This is not a complete success story yet but it shows that Costa Rica is on the right track. A few years ago, the country decided to abolish zoos and free all the captive animals. For animals that cannot be left in the wild, they decided to build sanctuaries. Unfortunately, the environment ministry lost a court case on this issue and as a result, could not execute its vision. Yet, the status quo is not being reverted to. Zoos will get a face lift and many animals will get a much better place to live.
Costa Rica recently passed an animal welfare law in a grand public ceremony led by President Solis with thousands of people participating in it. Among its main changes, the new piece of legislation introduces prison sentences ranging from three months to one year for those found guilty of killing a domestic or a domesticated animal.
Costa Rica is a tiny country with a small population but has a large heart and a grand vision. Not every small country can achieve what Costa Rica achieved. It requires visionary leadership, commitment and engagement from citizens and creative public policies by the government. I hope countries all over the world draw inspiration from Costa Rica and invest in education, energy and environment.