Costa Rica: Intercultural Policies for social inclusion and generation of opportunities


The Joint Programme promoted the cultural and social inclusion of marginalised groups and the potential of the creative sector in Costa Rica. It took as a starting point the Parque de la Libertad (Liberty Park), a space for artistic, ecological and cultural-production related projects, which serves 15 marginalized districts in the country’s largest built-up urban area, comprising 700,000 inhabitants.

The programme sought to foster cultural policies in specific communities in order to strengthen institutional capacity and to highlight the role of culture in achieving the MDGs. The challenge was to promote and ensure community participation and the effective use of learning opportunities and skills related to creative and cultural industries and intercultural practices.

The programme aimed to:

  1. At the local level, empower rural and marginal urban communities in their expressions of identity, social capital, the exercise of cultural rights and the sustainable use of cultural resources; and
  2. At the national level, strengthen institutional competences to manage intercultural policies in the fields of culture, education, health, the economy and agriculture.

The main initiatives were carried out in Parque de la Libertad, which is the platform for organizing productive artistic, ecological and cultural projects, located at the crossroads of several marginal urban communities in the cantons of Desamparados in the Province of San José and La Union in Cartago. 

Some of the achievements of the Programme were:

  • Intercultural dialogue was promoted through inclusive processes and decision making that respect cultural diversity. Revision and analysis was carried out of sector policies on agriculture, healthcare, education, culture, and the economy.
  • The Parque de la Libertad was provided with a Resource Centre, and the Centro de Tecnología y Artes Visuales (CTAV, Centre of Technology and Visual Arts) was built and equipped as the first training centre for technicians in web design and development and the incubator of creative businesses. The Escuela de Música del Sistema Nacional de Música (Music School of the National System of Music) was also provided with equipment and infrastructure.
  • Five intercultural and local food festivals (FICONUTI) were developed with the aim of applying best practices and promoting cultural diversity.
  • Cultural and nature tourism was developed through the creation of the Ruta de los Héroes y Agro-Tour Maleku Celeste (Route of the Heroes and AgroTour Maleku Celeste) in Sarapiqui and Guatuso.
  • Traditional plants such as gourds, used as food utensils by native/indigenous groups, were exchanged and recovered.


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



The Joint Programme in action


Programme Dates 06 Jun 2008 - 15 Feb 2012
Net funded amount $4,777,235
Participating UN agencies FAO, PAHO / WHO, UNDP, UNESCO, UNICEF
National partners Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud, Ministerio de Educación, Ministerio de Agricultura, Ministerio de Salud, Ministerio de Economía, MIDEPLAN, CNP, Universidad Nacional, Universidad de Costa Rica, Universidad Estatal a Distancia, Museo Nacional, Oficinas Regionales de los Ministerios, Delegados Presidenciales Cantonales, Municipalidades de Desamparados, La Unión, Curridabat, San José, Corredores, Talamanca, Sarapiquí, Guatuso, Santa Cruz, Coto Brus, Puntarenas y Liberia, Fundación Parque La Libertad, Fundación Omar Dengo, Asociaciones de Desarrollo Integral, Asociaciones de Desarrollo Específicas, Asociación de Desarrollo del Territorio Maleku, Cámaras Cantonales de Comercio y/o Turismo, Comités Regionales de Ferias del Agricultor
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