Thursday 8 December 2022

Costa Rica’s national parks are not going to be sold on the New York Stock Exchange

It is not true that the sale of the country's natural resources was negotiated at COP26, as stated by the El Conservador website. In reality, the Government is analyzing a possible source of financing that does not imply transferring protected areas

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7 December 2022 - At The Banks - BCCR

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QCOSTARICA. #DEBUNKED. It is not true that Costa Rica’s national parks are going to be sold on the New York Stock Exchange, as a publication on the El Conservador C.R. website erroneously assures us.

This blog states that during his participation in the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP26), President Carlos Alvarado negotiated the sale of the country’s natural resources in a multi-million dollar deal.

The govenrment is not selling on the New York Stock Exchange Costa RSica’s natural heritage as the website El Conservador C.R. wants us to believe. Photo from elconservadorcr.com

The transaction, according to that publication, would be carried out through a figure called ‘Natural Asset Companies’ (NAC).

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In September, Fortune magazine explained using NACs, governments, farmers, and other owners of natural assets will be able to form a specialized corporation that holds the rights to the ecosystem services produced on a given chunk of land, services like carbon sequestration or clean water. Then the company will tap the U.S. public markets by way of the NYSE like any other entity would.

However, the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE), the government agency, denied that there are plans to sell or expropriate protected areas. Franklin Paniagua, Deputy Minister of the Environment, said that the publication signed by “Catalina Vargas Hicken” misrepresents the true purpose of a possible new source of financing for protected areas, on which, at the moment, no decision has been made.

The proposal would consist of people or organizations investing in the conservation of the protected areas of Costa Rica, through the acquisition of shares that would accredit them as a kind of godparents of the national areas, without granting them any property rights over natural resources.

The proposal would consist of people or organizations investing in the conservation of the protected areas of Costa Rica, through the acquisition of shares that would accredit them as a kind of godparents of the national areas, without granting them any property rights over natural resources.

Here’s how the plan would work:

An article published by the Reuters news agency, last September, before COP26, reported that the Costa Rican government was collaborating with the New York Stock Market in the development of a new type of financial asset, based on sustainable organizations that are dedicated to ecosystem services, such as carbon sequestration.

“With the introduction of the Natural Resource Companies (NAC), the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) plans to provide investors with a mechanism to financially support initiatives that they consider critical to our future,” Stacey Cunningham told Reuters, President of the NYSE.

“In the recent meeting of the “saviors of the planet”, where the president of Costa Rica Carlos Alvarado, only went to make a fool of himself, they finished selling us, no national media has exposed the barbarism that is the capitalization of nature by globalism,” writes Licda. Catalina Vargas Hicken
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In this regard, Vice Minister Paniagua confirmed that the Government participates in the conceptualization of said plan, in which Costa Rica could eventually enter by issuing a type of actions associated with protected areas.

He explained that the titles would not give the acquirer property rights to the protected area, as occurs with the shares of conventional companies. The national parks would always be 100% owned by the State, and the holders of the shares would simply be certified as a kind of godparents of these areas.

“In principle, it is people who say: ‘I don’t want to simply give away money, which is the traditional way, but I want to invest, I want to have a paper that says I gave ¢10 million colones for the conservation of Tortuguero.” So, there is a value associated with the good intention of caring for nature.

What does the person gain? Feel good.

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“That may be at first, but if later people say: ‘see, Corcovado, it is a place where biodiversity is maintained, and tourists pass by and everyone visits it’, or ‘I went when I was little, then I would like to have a share, and I have a friend who has and I know he invested $1 million, so I bought it for $2 million. ‘

“Then the transaction is made and the shares rise in price, because there is a demand, because the place becomes famous,” said the official.

According to the MINAE, the proposal is inspired by initiatives such as the Payment for Environmental Services Program (PSA), which has been applied in Costa Rica since 1997 and consists of the State paying forest owners to conserve them: the lands belong to their owners, but the State recognizes their work.

According to Paniagua, if the proposal is successful, the state would invest the profits in the national parks, with the expectation that the improvements will further position the country as a green destination and that this will promote the growth of the economy.

However, in the case of Costa Rica, these are just ideas.

The vice minister said that the government is analyzing the possibility of implementing this financing mechanism, and investigating whether legal reforms would be required. At the moment, no decision has been made, and the country has not committed to issuing these titles.

 

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