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Costa Rica, US announce historic debt-for-nature swap
Date:10/17/2007

Arlington, Virginia (Oct. 17, 2007) The Nature Conservancy and Conservation International (CI) have joined the governments of the United States and Costa Rica in one of the largest debt-for-nature swaps in history.

The agreement will ensure the protection of Costa Ricas most critically threatened tropical forests, with the United States forgiving $26 million of Costa Ricas debt and Costa Rica spending that amount on tropical forest conservation programs over the next 16 years.

The U.S. government contributed $12.6 million appropriated by the Tropical Forest Conservation Act (TFCA), with Conservation International and The Nature Conservancy providing an additional $1.26 million each to the purchase of the debt at a discounted rate. Two law firms White & Case, and Pacheco, Odio & Alfaro represented the Conservancy and CI in the transaction on a pro bono basis.

For more than 30 years, weve been working in Costa Rica, which has always been at the forefront of Latin American conservation, said Stephanie Meeks, acting president and CEO of The Nature Conservancy. Costa Rica is teeming with natural beauty, biodiversity and threatened species, from jaguars to squirrel monkeys to scarlet macaws. And as an increasingly popular tourist and retirement destination, it faces increasing development pressure. Were glad to have this opportunity to continue working with local people and government and nonprofit partners to protect this magnificent place for generations to come.

Established by the U.S. Tropical Forest Conservation Act (TFCA), debt-for-nature swaps enable the United States to forgive a countrys foreign debt in exchange for the participating governments commitment to devote a specified amount of money to conservation work. The Costa Rica agreement is the largest debt-for-nature swap ever made under the TFCA $26 million.

This is how modern conservation works, with dynamic partnerships involving all stakeholders to p
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Contact: Tom Cohen
tcohen@conservation.org
703-341-2729
Conservation International
Source:Eurekalert

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