The Big Enchilada – Workshop Report

From 22-24 October, The Ministry of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica (MINAE), UNDP Costa Rica, and the UNDPNature for Development, with support from the GEF and One Earth, brought together over 60 world-class scientists and policy experts from Costa Rica and around the globe to answer the question: how can we use spatial data to identify nature-based solutions for biodiversity, climate, and sustainable development?. The three-day workshop was followed by a high-level session that shared outputs and next steps with key stakeholders.

The workshop’s goals were to:

  • Engage key national and global stakeholders involved in science and policy for nature, climate, and sustainable development.
  • Introduce the ‘essential life support area’ vision – identifying and prioritizing where policymakers can take nature-based actions to deliver across a suite of national priorities for conservation and sustainable development.
  • Develop the methods to achieve this vision with cutting-edge, rigorous science.
  • Identify the necessary global and national datasets.
  • Evaluate the political context, map key stakeholders, and provide clear steps to use the data to deliver across commitments to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Over the course of the three days, policy experts identified the 26 top targets and indicators from 11 different national policies and plans, including the National Development Plan, National Biodiversity Plan (NBSAP), and the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This simple exercise enabled an overview of the synergies among these diverse national commitments, and a clear landscape of targets for which spatial data and maps could support more effective implementation. Technical experts surveyed 73 national data sources and 104 global data sources on biodiversity, carbon, water security, food security, disaster risk reduction, and jobs/livelihoods to identify which would be most appropriate for the analysis. Together, the group reviewed the methods used to create the proof of concept map to determine revisions that would need to be made to ensure a rigorous, policy-relevant map of Costa Rica’s essential life support areas.

Moving forward, Costa Rica is committed to working with UNDP to complete the first map of its essential life support areas to take action for biodiversity, climate, and sustainable development. Costa Rica will likewise serve as a regional and global leader, advocating for the power spatial data to guide action that can address the biodiversity and climate emergency. By creating rigorous science that can support countries to take action based on their national priorities, this project supports the delivery of the Rio Conventions and Sustainable Development Goals at national and global levels.

This report shares key presentations and synthesizes feedback received on data, methods, and policy priorities in order to guide further action in Costa Rica and around the world.

Download the report in this link.

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