NAIROBI, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) on Friday declared Costa Rica winner of the 2019 Champions of the Earth award for its robust commitment towards the green agenda.
A statement from UNEP released in Nairobi said Costa Rica won the prestigious environmental award for enacting policies that enhance protection of biodiversity while decarbonizing its economy.
"Costa Rica has been a pioneer in the protection of peace and nature and sets an example for the region and for the world," said Inger Anderson, the executive director of UNEP.
"Climate change demands urgent and transformative action for all of us. With its ambitious plans to decarbonize the economy, Costa Rica is rising to that challenge," she added.
The UNEP boss said that carbon emissions had reached record levels across the globe, hence the need for robust action to accelerate a shift to greener and more resilient economic development.
Costa Rica, which is a world leader in advancing the sustainability agenda, has developed robust policy and regulatory frameworks to facilitate decarbonization of its economy by 2050 in line with the 2015 Paris climate deal and UN 2030 goals.
According to UNEP, the Central American nation was recognized for unveiling a national master plan to achieve zero emissions in critical sectors like transport, energy and agriculture.
More than 80 percent of Costa Rica's energy is renewable while its forest cover stands at more than 53 percent, thanks to investment in reforestation projects.
In 2017, Costa Rica broke record after running the entire economy on renewable energy for 300 days and the country aims to electrify 70 percent of buses and taxis by 2030.
At present, Costa Rica that has a population of 5 million people produces 0.4 percent of total global carbon emissions thanks to adoption of cleaner technologies.
"Receiving the Champions of the Earth award on behalf of Costa Rica, its entire population, the past generations who protected the environment, and future generations fills me with pride," said Carlos Alvarado, president of Costa Rica.
He said that investments in clean mobility, smart and resilient cities, sound waste management, sustainable agriculture and improved logistics are at the heart of Costa Rica's efforts to decarbonize its economy.