Costa Rica


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HFA National Reports

National Report 2008: 2008 National Report (HFA Monitor Report; Spanish)

National Report 2007: National Report on the Implementation of the HFA (2007) - Costa Rica (Spanish)

National Report 2006: no reported

National Report 2005: no reported

National Report 2004: National Report in Preparation for WCDR (2004) - Costa Rica (Spanish)

National platform

The National Platform of Costa Rica is comprised of:

National Emergency Commission

(Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgo y Atención de Emergencia - CNE)

Address: Frente al Aeropuerto Tobías Bolaños, Pavas, San José, Costa Rica / Apartado Postal 5258-1000; San José, Costa Rica.

Tel:(+506) 2-220-0378/232-5252 / Fax: (+506) 2-296-5225



Ministry of Environment and Energy

(Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía - MINAE)

Address: de la Corte Suprema de Justicia, 200 al este y 25 al sur, San Jose / Apdo. 10104, 1000, San José Tel: (+506) 2-233-4533


Ministry of Health

(Ministerio de Salud)

Address: Calle 16, Av. 6 y 8. Detrás del Hospital San Juan de Dios, San José

Tel: (+506) 2-223-0333 / 8-375-3389



Institute for Social Assistance

(Instituto Mixta de Ayuda - IMAS)

Address: : Bo. La California, 75 m al sur de la KFC en San Pedro

Tel: (+506) 2-257-9222


Ministry of Public Safety

(Ministerio de Seguridad Pública)

Address: Bo Córdoba, frente al Liceo José Maria Castro Madríz, San José

Tel: (+506) 2-227-4866


Ministry of Public Works and Transportation

(Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes - MOPT)

Address: Costado oeste de la Plaza González Víquez, San José

Tel: (+506) 2-257-7798


Ministry of Housing and Human Settlements

(Ministerio de Vivienda y Asentamientos Humanos - MIVAH)

Address: Calle 3, Av. 9, San José, Costa Rica

Tel:(+506) 2-202-7900 / Fax: (506) 2-202-7910



Costa Rican Red Cross

Contact person: Dr. Miguel Carmona Jiménez; Presidente

Address: Benemérita Cruz Roja Costarricense, Calle 14 Avenida 8, San José, Costa Rica / Apartado Postal 1025-1000, San José

Tel: (+506) 2-233-7033/255-3761 / fax: (+506) 2-255-7628



Costa Rica: Financing Disaster Risk Reduction

Good practices of National Platforms 2008 - Case Study: Costa Rica

Sistema Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias (SNPRAE) / Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias (CNE)


HFA National Focal Point

Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias (CNE)

(National Risk Prevention and Emergency Response Commission)

Address: Frente al Aeropuerto Tobías Bolaños, Pavas, San José, Costa Rica / Apartado Postal 5258-1000; San José, Costa Rica.

Tel:(+506) 2-220-0378/232-5252 / Fax: (+506)2-296-5225



Contact person:

Daniel Gallardo Monge, President

Tel: (+506) 2-220-0378 / fax:(+506) 2-296-5225


Technical Focal Point:

Marco Vinicio Saborío Mesén, Chief Office of International Affairs and Special Projects

Tel: (+506) 2-210-2828 / fax:(+506) 2-220-1000


Other Contacts

Permanent Mission of the Republic of Costa Rica to the United Nations Office and other International Organizations in Geneva


Her Excellency Mrs. Laura Thompson Chacón

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary

Permanent Representative

Address: Rue de Butini 11, 1202 Geneva

Tel: +(41-22) 731-2587, Fax: +(41-22) 731-2069

E-mail: [mailto:]

UN System Coordination

UNDG: UNCT Costa Rica

UN Resident Coordinator

Mr. Jose Herminda

UN Resident Coordinator / UNDP Resident Representative

Address: Oficentro La Virgen 2, 300 mts sur y 200 suroeste de la Embajada Americana, Pavas, San José, Costa Rica

Tel: (+506) 2-296-1544/2659 / fax: (+506) 2-296-1545/291-1125



Inter-Agency Support

Mr. Leonardo Moreira, Coordination Officer a.i.

Tel: +(506) 2296-1544 Ext. 122, Fax: (506) 2296-1125


Ms. Sofia Torres, Coordination Assitant

Tel: (506)2296-1444 Ext. 184


UN Country Team

Mr. José Manuel Hermida: Resident Coordinator, UNDP System

Mr. Carlos Samayoa: Representative, PAHO/WHO

Mr. Jozef Merkx: Representative, UNHCR

Ms. Patricia Salgado: Auxiliary Representative, UNFPA

Ms. Seija Toro: Representative, UNICEF

Mr. Alan Jorge Bojanic: Representative, FAO

Ms. Ileana Ramirez: Program Coordinator, UN-HABITAT

Mr. José Pires: Regional Representative for Central America and Mexico, IOM

Mr. Oscar Arango: Representative, WMO

Mr. Guillermo Ronderos: Regional Counselor, UPU

Mr. Virgilio Levaggi: Sub-Regional Director, ILO

Mr. Wolfgang Reuther: Representative for Central America, UNESCO

Mr. John Maresca: Rector, UPAZ

Mr. Elías Carranza: Director, ILANUD

Ms. Sofia Torres: Coordination Support, UNDP System

Mr. Leonardo Moreira: Coordination Support, UN System

Updated: 13 May, 2008; UNDG: UNCT Costa Rica


Coordination Center for the Prevention of Natural Disasters in Central America (CEPREDENAC)

Contact Person: Lic. Daniel Gallardo Monje, Vice-President CEPREDENAC

Address: Frente al Aeropuerto Tobías Bolaños, Pavas, San José, Costa Rica

Tel: (+506) 2-210-2828 Ext 889 / Fax: (+506) 2-220-0667



Ministry of Public Education (MEP)

(Ministerio de Educación Pública)

National Education Plan for Disaster Risk Reduction

Contact Person: Arq. Fernando Ulloa Rodriguez, General Coordinator

Address: Infrastructure Advisory Office, Deputy Administrative Office, Oficina 695. Edificio Rofas, 6to piso. Paseo Colon, San José, COSTA RICA. / Apartado Postal 1156-2050, San Pedro de Montes de Oca, San José, Costa Rica.

Tel: (+506) 2-256-8352 / fax (+506) 2-256-8390


Country Profile:

Official name: Republic of Costa Rica

Capital: San José

Population: 4.1 million

Density: 80.2 people per sq km

Total area: 51,100 sq km

Ethnic groups: white (including mestizo) 94%, black 3%, Amerindian 1%, Chinese 1%, other 1%

Religions: Roman Catholic 76.3%, Evangelical 13.7%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.3%, other Protestant 0.7%, other 4.8%, none 3.2%

Languages: Spanish (official), English

Currency: Costa Rican Colon

Government type: democratic republic

Position in HDI: 47°

Costa Rica is located in the heart of Central America, between the geographical coordinates 8 ° 02 '26' and 11 ° 13 '12 "north of the equator and 82 ° 33' 48" west of Greenwich.

The Costa Rican territory is a very narrow strip Continental: has barely 464 km. Away at its widest portion, between the coasts of the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea. It is characterized by a recent geological history, evolving, often affected by type of geological phenomena (earthquakes and volcanic) and climate (hurricanes, heavy rains, droughts and other).

Of its topographical features highlights the existence of three mountain ranges that cross the country from one extreme to another. They are steep slope land and a huge amount of rivers, creeks and ditches, which determine a huge density flow by area, and that recurrently expose the country to events floods and landslides.

In this fragile environment "natural" develops Costa Rican society, under circumstances which show an insufficient awareness of the situation. This is not ignorance or lack of information, since the country has made significant achievements in the fields of research, education and registration. Indeed, the events of that disaster are rather due to the strong pressure on the environment. The country faces human practices inappropriate land use, with high densities of deforestation, crops and livestock in inappropriate zones, which are generally a result of a productive structure with a primary basis highly dependent overexploitation of the soil. Adding to this urban development, commercial and industrial historically deficient in its order, despite legislation abundant and relatively well-defined.

The development of an infrastructure for utilities, roads, schools, hospitals, among others, in areas highly endangered, in the long run has become a focus of attraction for the settlement of the populations which, combined with pressures on the ground for commercial and residential development, especially in the Central Valley, where the most important cities, including the capital - contributes to the most disadvantaged populations moved to the dangerous sites, resulting in an increase in vulnerability.

As a corollary to these problems, industrial and commercial development has also encouraged the presence of activities involving the storage, transportation and processing of toxic and hazardous substances, which in circumstances of mismanagement have caused emergency events, leaks, accidents or rupture. In other cases, the critical events of nature have implications associated with the presence and unwillingness of these technological elements, which emergencies are becoming more complex. All this is a scenario that fosters risk to the circumstances that occur Recursively emergencies and disasters in the country.

Anthropogenic (human induced)factors

In the case of Costa Rica, population growth and especially the city accelerated the modernization of agricultural and industrial production, increasing the ease of communication and transport, trade liberalization and productive high-tech companies, the inadequate control on the handling of toxic substances, among many other things, have been integrated into the national development process increasingly complex activities that affect inescapably in increased vulnerability due to the growth and intensification of technological threats, but no such incidence has been designed, so the regulations that reduce their impact are lagging or are unrelated to the current reality.

In 2001, in the case of Costa Rica, the urban poor were nearly 17%, while in rural areas reached 25% (State of the Nation 2002, page 96).

Social exclusion, which is normally referred to the political speech is also a geographical exclusion, a demographic pressure of taking power through economic, feeds the tendency for the poorest are located in the most insecure. Especially in densely populated areas, are those sites where multiple factors are present threat, the homes of the poor.

It joins a synergy of this collective practices of tolerance and failure to factors of obvious threat and in many cases of aggressive behavior adaptation of the medium which challenge the tenuous balance and maximize the terms of a threat to unsustainable levels of tension, or that afternoon early, sometimes in a repetitive, generate disaster.

Thus, Costa Rica is no stranger to vulnerability: floods, earthquakes, landslides, volcanic eruptions and the increasing occurrence of events related to technological factors, constitute a long process of disasters along the history of Coast Rica. In the twentieth century, there were 22 earthquakes with varying degrees of damage, 11 volcanic events with any degree of affection, the most important being the eruption of Volcano Irazu between 1963 and 1965 and the eruption of the Arenal Volcano in 1968. The slides importance totaled 10, while floods are permanent phenomena that occur each year, but tends to the gradual degradation of soils and rivers generate greater degrees of involvement, especially with the presence of tropical cyclones in the Caribbean, such as Fifi, Joan, Cesar, Michelle, Mitch, to name a few.

However, the events of magnitude higher, joined a long list of incidents that keep newspapers in the country in a state that we call "emergency low intensity", by reference to the gradual and permanent damage suffered by the population of small events By the end of a period in which annual compounded magnitudes damage and deaths are higher than those caused an event of great magnitude. The vulnerability is evident in these cases as a chronic situation inherent in the same reality.

In reports of incidents reported by the 9-1-1 in recent years, it is observed that approximately 75% of the events are related to hydro-meteorological phenomena, especially in the rainy season. The remaining events are associated with geological factors as well as technological, going to rise.

It is known that the pattern of development followed by the country since the second half of the twentieth century, incorporated a number of security measures and welfare that led to higher levels of development and permitted the social promotion of a significant proportion of the population, to the point of having a large section located at an average level of income. Social indicators such as life expectancy, infant mortality, education, access to services, among others, have been evidence of the high level reached, which even arrived to locate the country among the best in the Latin American region.

This process, with its limitations and conflicts, has had an indirect impact on the risk, as compared to other countries in the region of Central America, the events of disasters have been benign, as their impact in these comparative terms, has been lower. However, this pattern of development has not considering disaster prevention as an act, even as a clear and conscious intention, recent events dictate the need for a change in that direction. The management of disasters in the country has gone through a process of institutionalization similar to other Latin American countries. The schemes national organization until 1999 when amending the Act was directed to the attention of the impact, while the causality is one aspect that has been shelved. As a result, Costa Rica is a country highly vulnerable to disasters; the historical conditions of threat and the particular form of development, a concept alien to harmonious with nature, makes disaster will be a latent problem that tends to worsen, while not realize measures to reduce the risk.


Costa Rica has an Emergency Law since 1969. Through her since then was assigned to the executive branch the power to declare a state of emergency in any part of the national territory, created the National Emergency Commission (CNE) and became the National Emergency Fund.

In 1999 Act was amended and is among the most significant changes is that the Act includes responsibilities for the prevention of NEC and integration different from its Board of Directors, to add representatives from the ministries as rectors of Environment and Energy.

The National Emergency Law No. 3414 of 1999 explicitly identifies institutional responsibilities for the prevention and care of emergencies. Today is processed in the Legislative Assembly an amendment to the Act in order to clarify the concepts and responsibilities in the field of disaster. The National Emergencies Act specifically states to the National Commission on Prevention of Risks and Emergency Response (CNE), as responsible for the formulation of the National Plan on the subject, as well as establish a national system that develops their actions. Based on this mandate and subordinate to the lines of the National Development Plan was developed by the national strategy document entitled "National Plan for Prevention of Risks and Emergency Response."

Additionally, the country has other associated laws, such as the Health, Environment, Municipal Code, Urban, among others. It also has regulations that assign responsibilities to various institutions, which in one way and another have an impact on this issue.

The National Development Plan "Victor Manuel Sanabria M. 2002-2006 "incorporates a range of areas related to the reduction of risk. Specifically, within the theme of the Plan is subject to two axes: harmony with the environment and public safety.

Over the past 10 years the country has begun to have a rethinking on the mechanisms of disaster management. It has been moved from emergency care approach to prevention. The change of law in 1999 has resulted in a higher incidence by the CNE in the guidance to other institutions.

The country has a history replete with disasters. Consequently the impact of earthquakes in one of the most important cities (Carthage), by executive decree took the decision to ban the buildings with adobe (mud) from the year 1910. The year 1974 was enacted the first Seismic Code and has had updates in 1986 and 1999, in 2004 also completed a new update. In addition, the country, with the momentum of the CNE, has developed an early warning system for floods that operates for all basins in the country with annual recurrence of flooding.

The involvement of civil society is being developed through the emergency committees, special committees and the local community. However, it goes without representation, ie the committees comprising representatives of both the consolidated local and communal, in order to ensure the ability of "mobilization" of groups of people and resources by the committee. There are now in the country 98 local committees (with a coverage of town) and about 300 community committees.

The involvement of communities, including families of individuals, has been taking for 15 years in the monitoring programme basins, a program that recently by the new terminology, are called "early warning". They are peasants and indigenous people who live in the middle - and high points of the rivers, trained by the CNE for monitoring the level of channels (using radio equipment provided by the same institution), which report to the Office of Communications and the seats of the lower parts, and this allows decisions to manage the population in the event of heavy rains. In some places in the country, especially in the Atlantic side, the period of rain extends until 11 months a year, so that the risk of flooding is almost constant. Currently, the monitoring posts joined about 200 across the country, are attended on a voluntary basis and cover more than 20 watersheds.

In terms of organizational challenges, the CNE has proposed the goal of consolidating the National System for Prevention of Risks and Emergency Response, assuming the leadership role and lead on the issue of disasters. Through management coordinator within the system, seeks to turn the concept of management to reduce the risk in a shaft of public policy at the same time operating in policies, programmes and investments sectoral and institutional at the same time to enable the generation programs and activities clearly identified disaster prevention. In January 2006, published a new amendment to the Act, which includes among its significant features an entire chapter that defines, among other things, risk management as a public policy across all development policies, establishes System of National Risk Management, with the obligation of all institutions to include the issue in its own planning and budget allocated to activities related.

At present, the Board of Directors of the CNE is made up of one representative of the President of the Republic, who presides over, the ministers of the Presidency, Public Works and Transport, Finance, Public Safety, Health, Housing and Human Settlements, Environment and Energy, the executive chairmen of the Joint Social Assistance Institute (IMAS), National Insurance Institute (INS) and a representative of the Costa Rican Red Cross. The CNE is the body that coordinates the National CEPREDENAC and having their representation on the Board of Directors of Regional CEPREDENAC

Climate change


Risk financing

Costa Rica Catastrophe Deferred Draw Down Option (CAT DDO)

On September 16, 2008, the World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved a US$65 million loan to Costa Rica for the first Catastrophe Deferred Drawdown Option (CAT DDO) aimed at providing a source of immediate financing in the aftermath of a major natural disaster. The CAT DDO acts as a source of bridge financing that may be disbursed partially or in full if the country declares a state of emergency as a result of a natural disaster. This will allow the country to maintain its development programs while mobilizing other sources of funding to address the emergency.

Due to its geographic location and geotectonic characteristics, Costa Rica is exposed to a large variety of natural hazards, including floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, volcano eruptions, and landslides. Costa Rica experienced 49 major natural disaster events between 1910 and 2008, which affected 1.4 million people. Despite its high exposure to adverse natural events, however, the country has built an efficient disaster response system and has managed to limit vulnerabilities through the effective enforcement of building codes, environmental standards, and land use planning. Costa Rica has also made substantial progress in strengthening its institutional and legal framework and mainstreaming disaster risk management in its national development program.

“The CAT DDO was developed responding to requests by middle-income countries for innovative financial products to increase their resilience in case of catastrophic events,” said Armando Guzmán, World Bank Task Manager for this operation. “This instrument will help Costa Rica to better address its immediate funding needs in the aftermath of natural disasters.” The CAT DDO can be disbursed over a period of three years and may be renewed up to four times for a total of 15 years. The US$65 million loan has a variable interest rate approximately equal to six-month LIBOR and is repayable in 29.5 years, including a five-year grace period.

Additional information: News Release No: 2008/079/LCR

Related Links:

World Bank on the Costa Rica Catastrophe Deferred Draw Down Option (CAT DDO)


(Source: Matrix Final - based on national progress report for the Global Platform)

HFA P1 - Institutional and legal framework:

The national emergency law was updated

Incorporation of DRR concept and DRR strategic actions into the national development plan, as well as in sectorial plans

Financial resources has been developed and the national risk prevention commission along with the institutional plan have been reorganized with a great focus on prevention

Strengthening of inter-sectoral coordination towards disaster risk reduction efforts

HFA P2 - Risk identification and EWS:

The development of the emergency information system equipment that uses GIS, GPS and remote sensing technology, to geo-reference natural and technological threats.

Developing and updating a GIS (Geographic Information System) at national level, scales of 1:50.000,1:25.000 and 1:10.000

Enhanced early warning and monitoring system for any potential threats: a) now there are 8 systems and 300 radio nodes; b) protocols have been signed and are currently being implemented with scientific institutions; c)12 of the 32 river basins of the country are being monitored to respond to eventual floods

HFA P3 - Knowledge and education:

National education plan for disaster risk reduction has been launched

Volunteers national program including DRR activities

HFA P4 - Risk applications:

Municipalities have actively engaged in the identification of risk threats in the context of the development of the land use plans of their territories, with base in the municipal law.

They also are subject to field inspections to validate the risk data as well as risk evaluations of sites with recurrent emergencies where adjustments to regulations of the urban development are required.

The national welfare programs and in particular poverty eradication planes include DRR considerations and goals as result of mainstreaming efforts of Costa Rica’s national platform

Application of the Environmental norms and connected laws (i.e. Climate change)

Risk insurance schemes are being considered for risk transfer of public infrastructures and investments

HFA P5 - Preparedness and response:

Costa Rica has built and equipped a new building as operations center for emergencies

Emergency funds available for local emergencies

A 9-1-1 call emergencies system has been established to coordinate the work of the disaster emergency institutions

Other Documents:

National Report on Disaster Reduction/Costa Rica

Millennium Development Goals Report/Costa Rica

National Plan for Prevention of Risks and Emergency Response

GEO Costa Rica: Environment outlook


Web Links:

PreventionWeb Country Profiles-Natural Disaster, Costa Rica Data and Statistics

EM-DAT Country Profile - Natural Disasters, Costa Rica

ReliefWeb Countries and Emergencies - Costa Rica

Official Website Costa Rican Government

Documentation Center for Disaster (CEDO)

MDG Profile: Costa Rica

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