Trees are obviously good for the planet. What’s not so clear to most people — governments, NGOs, investors, the public — are their socioeconomic benefits. Trees are essential for the economy, our health and our wellbeing.
Research shows that every $1 invested in restoring degraded land generates an estimated $7–$30 in economic benefits, including improved food production, carbon sequestration and water quality. Yet each year, deforestation and land degradation costs the world $6.3 trillion in lost ecosystem services such as agricultural products, recreational opportunities and clean air — equivalent to 8.3 percent of global GDP in 2016.
Despite these clear costs and benefits, restoration receives only a tiny fraction of the funding it needs. That’s where governments come in.
A new WRI report, “Roots of Prosperity: The Economics and Finance of Restoring Land,” looks at the barriers and opportunities to scale up finance in restoration.
Governments can design policies and strategies that help unlock restoration finance, including:
1. Monetizing environmental and social benefits: Carbon taxes are gaining momentum around the world. This is set to continue as 81 national climate plans (PDF), known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs), include some form of carbon pricing. Directing some revenues or proceeds from carbon pricing to climate solutions such as restoration will increase the impact of these prices in tackling climate change.
2. Shifting incentives from land degradation toward restoration: In Costa Rica, for example, the government phased out cattle subsidies in 1991 and began financing restoration through a 3.5 percent tax on fossil fuels. This helped to increase national forest cover from 29 percent in 1991 to 54 percent in 2015 and supported the rise of eco-tourism, which contributes 5.8 percent of national GDP.
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WATCH A NICARAGUAN ADVENTURE FULL OF TASTY WAVES AND CAFFEINATED BUZZES
BY BEN WALDRON
For a lot of surfers coffee is a ritualistic part of their morning surf routine. Seeing a steaming cup from the local donut shop, or a hot mug of home brew, in the hand of a surfer as he or she assesses ante meridiem conditions is as common a sight in the beach parking lot as the sea itself.
Does the warm caffeinated beverage enhance one’s surfing? Dean Petty, Mikey Detemple and Lee Meirowitz seem to think so. In the adventurous and whimsical style of Bruce Brown the trio travel to Nicaragua with filmmaker Harrison Newman Jardine for a coffee-fueled surf safari in “Perfectly Caffeinated.” Watch the trio score some fun waves and gain an education on the coffee cultivating process.
Managua, Nicaragua; February 21, 2018
A trade mission from Canada arrived in Nicaragua February 20th, with the objective of exploring business opportunities in the country. The mission was comprised of more than 10 Canadian companies in the agroindustrial and renewable energy sectors and was led by the Chief Commissioner for Trade of the Embassy of Canada in Costa Rica, Eve Giguere, and trade delegates of the Embassy of Canada in Costa Rica, Alexander León and Adolfo Quesada.
Quesada spoke about the interest shown by Canadian companies in investing in the renewable energy sector in Nicaragua and highlighted the success that Canadian companies have had in the country with energy projects, such as the rural electrification project, PERNICA. “This program has been very successful, and has allowed the country, to a certain extent, to penetrate in rural areas where there was no power. This goes hand in hand with the strategy of the Government of Nicaragua to bring electricity to the most vulnerable areas of the country,” he said.
The representatives of the Canadian companies that were part of the mission showed interest in establishing operations in Nicaragua thanks to its favorable investment climate and growing consumer market.
In this context, Saturn Power Inc., a solar and wind power development company, expressed interest in investing in the country. Founder and vice president, Jeremy Goertz, met with the head of the Nicaraguan Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM, by its Spanish acronym), Salvador Mansell, and representatives of PRONicaragua to learn more about the energy sector and the various investment opportunities the country offers.
As of today, Nicaragua and Canada have yet to sign a Free Trade Agreement that offers attractive conditions between both nations; however since 2008, the CA4 block of Central America countries (Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua) and Canada, have resumed negotiations in Ottawa, to discuss market access issues. Meanwhile, Nicaragua operates under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) with several countries, including Canada, Norway, Russia and Japan. Specifically with Canada, there is duty free access for citrus fruits, watermelon, cantaloupe, papaya, seafood, bananas, tropical fruits, pineapple, tubers, eggplant, cauliflower, tobacco and spinach. Preferences are also granted for industrial goods.
Managua, Nicaragua; February 27, 2018
In a joint effort of the Government of Nicaragua through PRONicaragua, the official investment promotion agency, the Ministry of Development, Industry and Trade (MIFIC, by its Spanish acronym), in collaboration with the Nicaraguan-German Chamber of Industry and Trade (AHK, by its acronym in German), the third German language edition of Doing Business in Nicaragua 2017-2018 / Leitfaden für Investitionen 2017-2018 was launched today.
The guide is published on an annual basis digitally and in print and its main objective is to provide investors, from German-speaking countries, the most relevant and up-to-date information on the competitive advantages offered by Nicaragua. The guide provides information on business climate conditions, the macroeconomic environment, national legislation, investment incentives and citizen safety, among other important issues.
This third edition is another positive result of the Model of Alliance, Dialogue and Consensus promoted by the Government along with the private sector. This model has achieved stability and economic growth for the country, making it an ideal destination for investment.
According to data issued by the Nicaraguan Central Bank (BCN), foreign investment from Germany totales US$48 million between 2012-2017, with an annual accumulated growth rate of 25 percent. The economic sectors that attracted the most investment were: industry (56%), finance (23%) and agriculture (19%). For their part, exports to Germany in 2017 grew by close to 50 percent over the previous year reaching US$53 million. The main exported products were: coffee (76%), bananas (13%) and cocoa (4%).
The Doing Business in Nicaragua Guide / Leitfaden für Investitionen 2017-2018, will be distributed through key institutions that promote investment in Nicaragua, including Embassies and Consulates abroad, and Chambers of Commerce in Germany. It will also be published on the website and social media of MIFIC and distributed directly to national and foreign investors visiting Nicaragua and to private companies and chambers.
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At the international level, digital campaigns will be carried out on platforms and social networks that include the North American market. A 30-second spot will be scheduled in Times Square, New York and Canada.
At the national level, 17 capsules will be developed promoting the most important tourist destinations in the 15 departments and the two regions, as well as 12 digital magazines, production of a biweekly micro news program and the creation of an institutional channel with a TV schedule where Intur’s work on promotion of events and destinations, among other things, will be advertised.
In addition, a 10-minute spot will be presented, promoting Nicaragua as a destination on the airlines United Airlines, Copa and Avianca, and the country will also be promoted as “land of lakes and volcanoes”.
See full press release (in Spanish).
Have I mentioned that I love wood as a building material? If sustainably harvested it provides a strong, beautiful material that can last for centuries and sequester CO2 the whole time. People have built bridges from it forever, but in such exposed circumstances they don’t last forever.
But now there are better wood preservation techniques, and Kris De Decker of No Tech Magazine points us to a lovely new bridge in the Netherlands, purported to be the first wooden bridge in the world that can support the heaviest load class of 60 tons.
Spanning 105 feet and rising more than 50 feet in the air, the structure will serve as a grand entrance to the city of Sneek. The €3.5 million bridge
was commissioned after a 2005 design competition, and is designed by OAK Architects (a collaboration between Achterbosch Architectuur and Onix architects) and constructed by German firm Schaffitzel Holzindustrie. It is made from Accoya Wood, where source-certified sustainable species, including FSC certified wood, is treated by acetylation.
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Three truths to contemplate when exploring a country for the first time: If your guide is a former documentary filmmaker, you’re bound to see some stunning views. When quality coffee (and yes, maybe a little rum) is in abundance, it’s hard to have a bad time. Finally, it pays to visit at just the right moment on the popularity bell curve. On these points, Nicaragua is three for three.
Perhaps because it has been overlooked in favor of its decidedly discovered neighbor Costa Rica, Nicaragua has been allowed to ripen at its own pace, and now may be the moment to experience the country as it should be seen. And, for my money, that means seeing it with Dominic Allan, founder of specialty travel company Real Latin America and a BAFTA-nominated director in his previous career.
After flying into Managua and spending a night the Hotel Contempo, a smartly designed hotel with lush gardens that wind through the property, Allan’s itinerary took full advantage of Nicaragua’s myriad landscapes, mixing moments of adventure with occasions for deliberate relaxation—a fishing expedition down secret rivers, a hike to a secluded beach on a remote island, a taste of historical Granada’s rum-tinged nightlife, an afternoon swim in the caldera of an extinct volcano, and studied downtime at an impeccably designed ecolodge. Below are just some of my many highlights.
Managua, Nicaragua; January 02, 2018
The renowned travel and lifestyle magazine, Condé Nast Traveller, highlighted in a recent publication that Nicaragua is a “must-visit” destination in 2018. The note places Nicaragua among recognized countries with a long tourist tradition such as Brazil, Mexico, Australia and Thailand. Nicaragua is the only Central American country mentioned in the publication.
According to the note, Nicaragua is “quite possibly the Central American country that has it all: tropical rainforests and untouched beaches, fringed with palms, distant cloud-capped volcanoes, and recently some extraordinarily special eco-lodges.” The note also emphasizes that “January has the blessing of being the month with the best temperatures” on Nicaragua’s Pacific Coast.
According to data issued by the Nicaragua Tourism Institute (INTUR, for its Spanish acronym), in the first four months of 2017 the country recorded a strong rebound in the arrival of tourists. INTUR says that the entry of foreign visitors grew by 28.4 percent. Specifically, between January and April, 610,118 tourists entered the country, while in the same period of 2016 there were 475,154 visitors.
It seems Nicaragua is not only attracting the attention of investors and trade partners, but also tourists. Tourism will take part in the country’s economic growth for 2018, as the country has been internationally featured as an exceptional destination for this year. Nicaragua has been acknowledged for its beautiful beaches, diverse nature, low living costs, and adventure opportunities by renowned international media including CNN Travel, Lonely Planet, Business Insider, The Huffington Post, International Living, Travel and Leisure and MONDO.
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