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Treaty to Safeguard Vital Marine Zones :

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Overfishing in international waters has surged in the past five years and demonstrates the need to ratify a recent global treaty to protect the high seas, a Greenpeace report said Wednesday.

The non-governmental network is calling on as many countries as possible to sign the treaty next week at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Finalized in June, the text was hailed as a “historic” accord with the potential to better safeguard the oceans.

A key element in the treaty is the creation of a legal framework to protect high seas marine areas — beyond 230 miles (370 kilometers) from coastlines — whose good health is vital to humanity.

But without enforcement of the accord, such protections are minimal, the report warned. “Reality at sea is moving in the opposite direction from the ambition laid out in the Treaty,” it said.

Governments must step up immediately, urged Greenpeace oceans campaigner Chris Thorne, aboard the group’s ship Arctic Sunrise, which was docked Wednesday in Long Beach, California for an event marking the report’s release.

To protect 30 percent of Earth’s land and oceans by 2030, the target adopted last year by the COP15 convention on biological diversity, “there is no time to waste,” he said.

Fishing hours on the high seas increased by 8.5 percent between 2018 and 2022, according to the report, which compiles data from an organization capable of tracking boat movements via their transmitters.

Such intensification is especially pronounced in the ecologically sensitive areas identified by the UN as potential future marine sanctuaries. Greenpeace reported fishing there has increased by 22.5 percent over the same period. “Overfishing is a huge problem,” Thorne said.

“That fishing pressure is just absolutely unsustainable, and it’s pushing our oceans to the brink.”  Greenpeace’s report notes that in the span of 30 years, stocks of Pacific bluefin tuna have collapsed by more than 90 percent.

It also draws attention to the damage caused in open seas by longline fishing, which uses cords fitted with thousands of baited hooks dozens of miles long.

The destructive method catches many sharks by mistake.

Let her heal

Given such dire situations, using the treaty to create high seas sanctuaries is crucial, said Samantha Murray, a marine biodiversity specialist at the University of California San Diego. 

“We have up to 670 percent greater biomass inside highly protected and fully protected reserves,” she told reporters. “When we sort of leave the ocean alone and let it be who she is and let her heal, we get more complex ecosystems that can be more resilient.”

In order to come into force before the next UN Ocean Conference, in 2025, the treaty will need ratification from at least 60 nations. This would enable convening a conference of the parties, empowered to create the marine sanctuaries.

Scientists and non-governmental organizations have already identified a dozen priority high seas zones needing protection.

They include the Costa Rica Thermal Dome, a nutrient-rich marine biodiversity hotspot hospitable to blue whales; the Emperor seamount chain of underwater mountains near Hawaii; and the Atlantic’s Sargasso Sea region.

In addition, the Salas y Gomez and Nazca ridges off Chile’s coast may be among the first sanctuaries to see the light of day.



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OECD Will Hold Its First Environmental Sustainability Summit in Costa Rica

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On October 5, Costa Rica will host the Ministerial Summit of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on Environmental Sustainability.  This will be the first edition of the event and will have the theme “Economic resilience, green and fair transition.”The meeting will take place at the Costa Rica Convention Center.

 Among the guests are government officials from the areas of Environment, Commerce; Economy and Labor of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean and members of the OECD.  Also from international organizations such as banks, United Nations agencies and organizations.

 The Summit is co-organized by the OECD, the Ministry of Foreign Trade (COMEX), the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) and has the support of the European Union.  It also responds to the OECD Regional Program for Latin America and the Caribbean (PRLAC), which concentrates regional efforts on sustainability and achievement of the 2030 Agenda.

 The OECD keeps an eye on the environment

The Summit is part of the OECD Environmental Sustainability Week, which will be hosting a series of events linked to environmental issues, focused on issues of youth, trade, employment, regulatory policy;  circular economy, contribution of the private sector to the green transition, role of civil society,

A rapid and fair transition towards a low-carbon economy in the region

 “The meeting aims to enrich the exchange of points of view and experiences between policy makers and, in this way generate contributions on how to guarantee a rapid and fair transition towards a low-carbon economy in the region,” the organization announced.

 Additionally, issues from the environmental agenda and the green trade agenda will be analyzed.At the event, it is expected to show progress that Costa Rica has had in projects such as climate adaptation and environmental services.

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Costa Rica and Panama Seek Joint Strategies For Migrant Crisis :

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President Rodrigo Chaves will travel to Panama on October 6th and 7th for meetings with President Laurentino Cortizo focused on addressing the migrant crisis unfolding in the Darien Gap region along their shared border.

After discussions between the leaders, Chaves and Cortizo plan to visit a migrant camp on the Panamanian side that provides humanitarian aid to the influx traversing the perilous Darien jungle seeking to reach North America.

Minister of Communication Jorge Rodriguez stated the visit will allow Presidents Chaves and Cortizo to engage directly with migrants and demonstrate joint efforts between the two nations to handle significant population flows.

Rodriguez noted the trip aligns with Costa Rica’s commitment to the U.S. to maintain safe, orderly migration while respecting national sovereignty. Chaves will depart for Panama on October 5th.

Over the weekend, Panama’s Security Minister Juan Manuel Pino met his Costa Rican counterpart Mario Zamora. Both countries aim to establish concrete measures to alleviate pressures from record numbers crossing the Darien Gap this year.

Data shows over 390,000 migrants, primarily from Venezuela and Ecuador, have entered Panama through the lawless jungle in 2022 thus far. The sheer volume has strained resources and services in border regions.

Minister Rodriguez acknowledged limited capabilities to manage an unprecedented situation. The large migrant presence has burdened local communities like Paso Canoas, where residents have protested negative impacts on security, health services, and more.

By witnessing realities firsthand and coordinating responses, Presidents Cortizo and Chaves hope to mitigate fallout while upholding migrant protections. Their discussions will address deploying resources efficiently and securing international assistance.

With migration flows expected to remain high in coming years, experts call the leaders’ engagement a positive step. But successfully balancing border stability and compassionate policies will require sustained regional cooperation and aid from developed nations.

As nearby transit hubs, Panama and Costa Rica’s futures are intertwined. Joint strategies arising from Chaves’ upcoming visit can set the tone for the cooperative spirit needed to confront mounting shared challenges.



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An Essential Component of Tico Society ⋆ The Costa Rica News

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The Afro-descendants of Costa Rica have played a significant role in shaping the cultural and historical landscape of the country. With a rich and diverse heritage, they have contributed to the social, economic, and political development of Costa Rica.

The presence of Afro-descendants in Costa Rica can be traced back to the colonial era when African slaves were brought to the region to work on plantations and in the mining industry. Over time, these individuals formed communities and established their own cultural traditions, which have been passed down through generations.

Music and dance

One of the most notable contributions of Afro-descendants in Costa Rica is in the field of music and dance. The vibrant rhythms of Afro-Caribbean music, such as calypso, reggae, and salsa, have become an integral part of the country’s cultural identity. Traditional dances like the Limón dance and the PuntoGuanacasteco showcase the unique blend of African and indigenous influences.

Politics

In addition to their cultural contributions, Afro-descendants have also made significant strides in the political arena. Despite facing historical discrimination and marginalization, individuals of African descent have fought for their rights and representation. In recent years, there has been an increase in Afro-Costa Rican politicians, activists, and leaders advocating for social justice and equality.

Economy

Economically, Afro-descendants have made notable contributions to various industries, particularly in agriculture and tourism. The province of Limón, located on the Caribbean coast, is known for its banana plantations, which have been a major source of employment for Afro-Costa Ricans. Additionally, the vibrant Afro-Caribbean culture and natural beauty of the region have attracted tourists from around the world, contributing to the local economy.

Despite these contributions, Afro-descendants in Costa Rica continue to face challenges and inequalities. Discrimination and socioeconomic disparities persist, limiting access to education, healthcare, and employment opportunities. Efforts are being made to address these issues through affirmative action policies, awareness campaigns, and community empowerment initiatives.

The Afro-descendants of Costa Rica have left an indelible mark on the country’s history and culture. Their contributions in music, dance, politics, and the economy have enriched the nation’s identity. However, it is crucial to recognize and address the ongoing challenges faced by Afro-Costa Ricans to ensure a more inclusive and equitable society for all. By celebrating and embracing the diversity of its population, Costa Rica can continue to thrive as a multicultural nation.

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