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f_0010086_7833 - The United States and Costa Rica: An...

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Fall 2008 The Ambassadors REVIEW 42 The United States and Costa Rica: An Enduring Partnership for Sustainable Development Peter E. Cianchette United States Ambassador to Costa Rica nited by a shared commitment to democracy, free enterprise, and sustainable development, the United States and Costa Rica have long enjoyed a good, mutually beneficial relationship. Building on Costa Rica’s well-deserved reputation as a stable democracy committed to peace, social progress, and environmental conservation, President Oscar Arias has embarked on a “Peace with Nature” agenda aiming to make Costa Rica become Latin America’s first fully developed, carbon- neutral country by 2021. However, Costa Rica also faces security threats arising from increased domestic and transnational crime, as well as threats to its prospects for a greener, more prosperous future resulting from persistent weaknesses in the country’s business- enabling environment and key infrastructure, such as water, wastewater, energy, and transportation systems. Moving the US-Costa Rica Partnership from “Aid” to “Trade” Having attained a remarkable degree of political stability and one of Central America’s highest standards of living, Costa Rica graduated from most US aid during the mid-1990s. Nonetheless, the United States continues to work closely with our partners in government, the private sector, and civil society on a variety of fronts to help Costa Rica meet its remaining challenges and to advance our mutual interests in the country’s long- term security and prosperity and, in so doing, promote sustainable development. This is well illustrated by the CRUSA Foundation, which was created through a bilateral agreement in 1996 as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization to promote “the broadest possible cooperation” between Costa Rica and the United States “through the exchange of knowledge, specialized assistance and technical support, for the execution and improvement of policies and programs that lead to sustainable development.” Drawing from the proceeds of a $47 million endowment fund provided by the outgoing US Agency for International Development (USAID), CRUSA has since channeled an equal amount— $47 million—to support more than 300 projects, including environmental initiatives, educational programs, science and technology endeavors, and strategic capacity building. Some 82 different US institutions collaborated in these projects. Moreover, led by a governing body consisting of an equal number of Costa Ricans and Americans, CRUSA has delivered more than on-the-ground results. Its administration and operational quality have been exemplary, as evidenced by the “NGO Benchmarking Certificate” it earned from the Switzerland-based “Société Générale de Surveillance” (SGS), the first such certificate SGS has issued to a Costa Rican NGO. As a further testament to the US-Costa Rica partnership, the Department of State
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f_0010086_7833 - The United States and Costa Rica: An...

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