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preparar a costa rica para un mundo post-petróleo.  Foro Página Abierta. Diario Extra, Costa Rica.


costa rica, china y el clima:  un momento decisivoLa Nación, Costa Rica p.15  7 de junio 2013


LAS INCOHERENCIAS DE RENE CASTRO. La Nación, Costa Rica, 22 de junio 2013

Mr. René Castro
Minister of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica (MINAE)
18 June 2013


It is with deep regret that I must write and inform you of my decision to resign from the Costa Rican delegation of climate negotiators. 

The world has long admired Costa Rica as a leader on climate change and environmental protection. Our decision to abandon our army, to champion healthcare, education and environmental protection, has inspired many people beyond our borders. For these reasons for me it has been an honor to represent our country at the international climate negotiations.  We have made a bet toward a model of clean development. We even announced to the world that we would be carbon neutral by 2021.

However, the fact that we are so close of accepting a loan from China in order to have a modern refinery worth $1.3 billion flies in the face of our leadership on climate. How can a country that has set a goal to decarbonise our development pathway have any credibility when it insists borrowing millions for the sake of fossil fuels?  This inconsistency threatens to unravel two decades of Costa Rican leadership on this issue, and I have no choice but to speak out for Costa Ricans, and the hopes of climate vulnerable people everywhere.

I did this by appearing on the radio show with journalist Amelia Rueda on May 30th. I openly raised the subject of our own contradictions hoping to start a more honest and balanced conversation regarding the refinery. I also wrote an opinion piece in the newspaper La Nación in Costa Rica that was published 7 June 2013 in which I called for low-carbon cooperation between our country and China.[2] 

Clearly, you did not agree with my views. On Saturday 8 June 2013, the Head of the Delegation of Costa Rica asked me to leave the team of Costa Rican climate negotiators.  This communication was verbal and took place during the negotiations sessions in Bonn, Germany.

After the news broke at home a backlash became evident in the social media not only in Costa Rica but also in other countries. By Wednesday 12 June 2013, you had sent a public letter to Amelia Rueda denying that I had been removed from the delegation in the first place.
[3] Now you insist that I am still in the “group of consultants" and that my contract is, and remains, in effect.

This information is not correct. I must publicly correct the record and clarify the following:

1. Contract: I am not a consultant to the Government of Costa Rica. My role has been as pro bono external advisor with tasks related to the delegation of climate negotiators coordinated by the Department of Climate Change under your instruction.  This participation has been possible through support from philanthropic foundations.  Your letter suggests that there is a contractual relationship when none exists. May I ask what contract you are referring to in your letter?

2.  Lack of integrity: You do not admit that I have been removed from the delegation and yet the Ministry (MINAE) is on record as stating the opposite to other governments: 

2.1 An email dated 12 June 2013 was sent to an official of the Government of Australia - with copies to officials from the governments of the United Kingdom and Ghana, as well as the Secretariat of Cartagena Dialogue (a negotiating forum in which I represent Costa Rica since 2010). This communication – of which I have a copy - states:

“Please note that by decision of the Government of Costa Rica, Ms. Monica Araya has been relieved of her current duties as MINAE External Advisor.”

The email trail also appoints a new representative with instructions from the Head of the Climate Change Directorate and states that I will no longer attend the upcoming Cartagena meeting in Ghana. 

2.2 The Ministry (MINAE) also communicated to other delegations that I have ceased to be part of the negotiating team. For example, the head of the Costa Rican delegation delivered a list to negotiators of AILAC (Independent Association of Latin America and the Caribbean States) – which I actively helped create – listing the Costa Rican negotiators that are part of AILAC. My name was left out. 

What the Costa Rican public needs to know is that this letter was sent on the same week that the Minister publicly denied that I had ever been removed.

What is at stake.  This government and you in particular owe the country an honest and open debate about the Costa Rican-Chinese refinery. Why do we need a refinery in the first place? And who will decide?   

I am convinced that a large majority of Costa Ricans will support a new model of cooperation with China – one based on low-carbon opportunities for both countries. 

Only this would be consistent with the environmental commitments that Costa Rica has courageously stood for, for more than twenty years bringing so many benefits for our country.


Dr. Monica Araya

Climate Policy and Development Expert

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