Costa Rica has recently submitted a pioneering proposal to reduce deforestation through the use of technology and space information generated by satellite imagery from the GEO-Google Earth Engine License Programme.  
The initiative, called ‘Tackling deforestation and forest degradation in Costa Rica using Google Earth Engine’, was submitted to the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) as part of a programme in partnership with Google. The two organisations will offer 25 licenses for the sustained use of Google Earth Engine (GEE) for projects using Earth observation data to address global challenges related to climate change, sustainable development and disaster risk reduction, among others.
The 2-year, full-access licenses aim to empower public sector and commercial recipients to tackle significant societal challenges and improve understanding of our planet.
Costa Rica’s Environment and Energy Minister, Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, said that the proposal is aimed at improving the ability of the country’s institutions to estimate deforestation and forest degradation by using satellite information and imagery offered by Google Earth Engine. The proposal also focuses on combating deforestation by developing an early warning system as well as improving the estimates of forest restoration and carbon emissions linked to these activities.
Rafael Monge, Director of Costa Rica’s National Centre of Geo-environmental Information (CENIGA), added that the development of an early warning system will generate useful information that will be used to take quicker decisions that help stop and anticipate illegal activities linked to deforestation.
The proposal is supported by a great number of organisations, including the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations; Costa Rica’s National Forestry Financing Fund (Fonafifo); Costa Rica’s National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) and the National Meteorological Agency (IMN) of Costa Rica, amongst others.
Costa Rica offers visitors an abundance of unique wildlife, landscapes and climates. The country shelters approximately 6.5% of the world’s biodiversity and currently holds the United Nation’s ‘Champions of the Earth’ award for its commitment to ambitious policies to combat climate change.