Costa Rica: Developing Competitiveness for the Brunca region in the Tourism and Agro-Industry Sectors, with an Emphasis on the Creation of decent, green employment to Reduce Poverty


The Brunca Region is one of the most isolated and poorest in Costa Rica, but it also contains the most biodiversity and natural resources. The Joint Programme worked in the tourism and agro-industry sectors to boost competitiveness in the region, with a particular emphasis on the creation of green and decent jobs.

The objectives of the programme were to:

  1. Improve the conditions for doing business.
  2. Boost the competitiveness and productivity of micro- and small-sized enterprises.
  3. Strengthen the capacity for innovation, based on two pilot projects, one involving biofuel production and the other, the development of ethnic tourism in indigenous communities.
  4. Provide incentives for greater participation of women in the labour market.

Specifically, the programme supported achievement of the MDGs by increasing access to productive resources by vulnerable and excluded population, and by improving productive and competitive skills. It also aimed to strengthen capacities for the formulation and implementation of public policies on competitiveness, particularly in the promotion of green and decent jobs for women and men in the tourism and agro-industry sectors.

Some of the achievements of the programme were:

  • An Economic Competitiveness Strategy was developed for the Brunca Region, with a focus on creating green and decent jobs in tourism and agro-industry as references for defining public investment priorities. This model was adopted ​​by the Government as a pilot to be replicated in other regions of the country.
  • Support was provided to micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises through technical assistance, public policies and the supply of equipment. Emphasis was placed on simplifying procedures for establishing companies in the six municipalities of the Brunca Region.
  • Two pilot initiatives were set up to create alternative forms of sustainable development. The first focused on the planting of 25 hectares of Jatropha for creating biofuel and the integration of the castor oil plant in the production model; the second was related to ethnic tourism in indigenous communities, forming the first chamber of ethnic tourism in the country.
  • The capacities of the Federation of South Municipalities were strengthened to develop and implement economic competitiveness policies.


Click for more detailed results from the Joint Programmes in Costa Rica (in Spanish).





The Joint Programme in action


Programme Dates 04 Sep 2009 - 30 Jun 2013
Net funded amount $4,000,000
Participating UN agencies FAO, ILO, IOM, UN-HABITAT, UNDP
National partners Ministerio de Economía, Ministerio de Planificación Nacional y Política Económica, Ministerio de Agricultura, Municipalidad de Pérez Zeledón, Municipalidad de Buenos Aires, Municipalidad de Corredores, Municipalidad de Osa, Municipalidad de Golfito, Municipalidad de Coto Brus, Federación de Municipalidades, GATs, Promotora de Comercio, CONARE, Fundación Omar Dengo, Rainforest Alliance, Centro de Gestión Tecnológica, CCNRS, Cámara de Industrias, Instituto de Fomento y Asesora Municipal, Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje, Junta de Desarrollo de la Zona Sur
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