Costa Rica to get debt relief for protecting forests

The US government and environmental groups will reduce Costa Rica's debt by US$26 million in return for the country spending the same amount on tropical forest conservation, according to an agreement reported on Wednesday.

As part of the US Tropical Forest Conversation Act, the United States will spend US$12.6 million to buy back Costa Rica’s debt at discounted rates. Conservation International and The Nature Conservancy will each contribute US$1.26 million.

Together, with interest, the money will be enough to pay down US$26 million of the Central American country’s debt, reports said.

"Costa Rica is teeming with natural beauty, biodiversity and threatened species," said Stephanie Meeks, The Nature Conservancy’s chief executive. "And as an increasingly popular tourist and retirement destination, it faces increasing development pressure."

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