Coastal erosion as viewed by delegates of the CVF Regional meeting at Cahuita National Park (Costa Rica) – the infrastructure in the photo once resided on dry land

Costa Rica-Hosted CVF Regional Meeting Warns of Risks of Climate Change

San José, Costa Rica, Thursday 23 April 2014 - Climate change is now seen as “a truly comprehensive risk that affects a wide range of systems: agriculture, energy, infrastructure, water, workplace and many more”, today said the Administrative Vice Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica, Luis Fernando Salazar.

Minister Salazar recalled that last month, the second working group of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded years of efforts to summarize the state of knowledge on the impact of climate change and how to respond to its challenges. The report was surprising in the sense that climate change is now seen as a truly comprehensive risk that affects a wide range of systems. Overall, the impact of climate change presents a fundamental threat to our national development and an economic and social challenge to governments, said the Deputy Minister.

CVF Regional Workshop delegates at Cahuita National Park (Costa Rica) to inspect coastal erosion

His words came during the inauguration of the Regional Workshop on Climate Vulnerability in Marine Coastal Areas held in Costa Rica that brought together fifty government experts, academics and representatives of civil society in Central America and the Caribbean to address the main risks and impacts of climate change, especially in ecological and socio-economic terms, as well as opportunities for regional cooperation.

The objectives of the workshop is to identify the way in which, as neighbors, we could conceive of higher levels of regional cooperation as we address the consequences of climate change in our own territories, said Deputy Minister Salazar.

“We are convinced that much can be achieved in terms of concrete intra-regional cooperation to limit climate risks and hope this workshop can serve as a catalyst in this regard ,” he added.

The workshop is organized under the presidency of Costa Rica of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), a group of twenty developing countries that share a common vision and concerns with respect to their high vulnerabilities to climate change. Costa Rica is, so far, the only Latin American country to participate, accompanied only by Barbados and St. Lucia in the Caribbean region.

The inauguration was also attended by the Executive Director of the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC -MINAE ), Rafael Gutiérrez Rojas and Head of Environment Programme United Nations Development Programme (UNDP ) in Costa Rica, Kifah Sasa.

This first regional activity of the CVF, whose presidency is exercised Costa Rica since late 2013, was initiated to stimulate intra-regional cooperation to address vulnerabilities of climate change in relation to marine coastal areas, given so many challenges are common to the countries of the region.

Caribbean basin countries are seriously affected by the increase of temperatures, which is manifested in increased heat, rising sea levels and other climate-related developments.

The regional impacts of climate change are manifested in pressures on biodiversity, land degradation and drought, extreme weather such as floods, landslides, storms, coastal erosion, stress on water resources, as well as effects on health, agriculture, forestry, fisheries and tourism, and hydropower generation, these constituting the main areas of concern for the countries of Central America and the Caribbean.

For a copy of the communiqué in Spanish, please visit the Foreign Ministry’s web site here.