*Originally submitted in Spanish and translated to English by the Secretariat
On 9 September 2016, Costa Rica became the first country to sign a “national pact” for the Sustainable Development Goals. The United Nations system and the national Office of the Ombudsman were honorary witnesses to the signature of this commitment to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development on the part of the three branches of Government, civil society organizations, faith-based organizations, public universities, local governments and the business sector. The pact represented a critical consensus on the goal of leaving no one behind.
Adaptation of national frameworks and establishment of a governance structure
Under the 2015-2018 national development plan, the executive branch set out programmes and projects corresponding to each of the Sustainable Development Goals, indicating the resources allocated for each project and the institutions responsible for their implementation. In addition, on the basis of an analysis of public policies and a study of statistical capacities, three priorities were established: combating poverty; achieving sustainable production and consumption; and building resilient infrastructure and sustainable communities.
Moreover, in order to ensure adequate monitoring of progress towards the Goals, a governance structure with various participants was established at four levels: political coordination; steering and technical expertise; coordination and implementation; and consultation and accountability.
Progress in implementing specific Sustainable Development Goals
Costa Rica is working to implement the 2030 Agenda through an integrated and multidimensional approach to development whereby it seeks to address the obstacles to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals from a multisectoral perspective.
Under Goal 1, “Ending poverty,” key initiatives have been undertaken, including the “Bridge to Development” strategy, the incorporation of a multidimensional poverty indicator and the organization of collective dialogues on poverty eradication.
To address Goal 2, “Zero hunger,” training activities have been established relating to food security, employability and rural development.
Under Goal 3, “Good health and well-being,” 10 strategies have been developed for the management of mental, sexual and physical health, in addition to water sanitation programmes.
Under Goal 5, “Gender equality,” strategies have been developed to reduce inequality, address and prevent violence, and protect sexual and reproductive rights. The adjustments that the Government is making to the national childcare and child development network are particularly noteworthy in this regard.
To implement Goal 9, “Industry, innovation and infrastructure,” 13 Government initiatives have been established to promote technology, develop infrastructure and manage risk.
Lastly, under Goal 14, “Submarine life,” 14 initiatives have been developed to improve the sustainable management of marine resources.
Mechanisms to support ownership by national actors
Institutions, State enterprises, public universities and local governments are currently adjusting their strategic plans and management models and establishing national committees to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Civil society organizations have created a platform to develop common strategic and policy agendas and have initiated training activities. In addition, faith-based organizations have implemented programmes for vulnerable populations and have conducted communication strategies in communities. The local network of the United Nations Global Compact in Costa Rica has also organized outreach and training for businesses and chambers of commerce.
Lastly, the United Nations system has played a critical role in supporting, aligning, coordinating and organizing materials, research, dialogue and technical expertise during the first two years of implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Resources for implementation
Costa Rica is an upper middle-income country that is facing a sharply increasing fiscal deficit. Despite this challenge, in 2016 the greatest proportion of budgetary resources was allocated to sectors relating to the Sustainable Development Goals: human development and social inclusion; transportation and infrastructure; and the environment, energy, oceans and land use.
The next steps proposed for the short term include establishing national targets; strengthening working groups; and consolidating the Advisory Committee of the High-level Council for the Sustainable Development Goals.
During the 2015-2017 period, Costa Rica has undertaken significant coordination efforts on the basis of a multidimensional approach in order to implement the Sustainable Development Goals. However, despite the progress made, the country faces difficulties in terms of establishing long-term strategies to tackle international and domestic challenges.