Costa Rica: Networks for coexistence, communities without fear


The security situation in Costa Rica has worsened in recent years due to drug trafficking and common crime. Though still below other countries in Central and South America, the level of violence has begun to impact the country's social fabric. This Joint programme aimed at improving security in nine of Costa Rica's least safe cantons by simultaneously reducing levels of fear and violence.

The programme was designed to forge networks for peaceful coexistence to prevent violence and promote peace, and was based on interaction between three state institutions — the ministries of Justice, Public Safety and Education — and the participation of local governments, social organisations and the private sector.

In line with the “National Plan For Preventing Violence and Promoting Social Peace: A Country Without Fear”, it promoted education, creating skills for dialogue and increasing the options for recreational activities for male and female youth aged 12 to 24 years of age. 

The Programme was successful because a work strategy was adopted through a credit transaction with the World Bank, which replicated the model in other municipalities.

Some of the main achievements included:

  • The Plan Nacional de Prevención de la Violencia, Promoción de la Paz y de la Seguridad Ciudadana (National Plan for the Prevention of Violence, Peace and Promotion of Public Safety) was developed and implemented.
  • Local plans for coexistence and violence prevention were developed in the five regions of intervention.
  • Networks of civil society organizations that contribute to the reduction of violence were strengthened.
  • More than 30 projects were developed and led by youth and adolescents.
  • The Programa Convivir (Co-existence Programme) was established as a national policy applied to all educational centres, and the Consejo de la Niñez y de la Adolescencia (Council for Children and Adolescents) adopted the guidelines proposed by the Programme in order to cover the whole country.
  • Casas de justicia (law centres) were opened in six of the nine cantons of the Programme.
  • A Living-together Programme, with the rank of national policy, was developed and applied to all schools.


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



The Joint Programme in action


Programme Dates 02 Jun 2009 - 28 Feb 2013
Net funded amount $3,300,000
Participating UN agencies UN-HABITAT, UNDP, UNESCO, UNICEF
National partners Ministerio de Justicia; Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública; Ministerio de Educación, Patronato Nacional de la Infancia; Instituto Mixto de Ayuda Social; Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje; Instituto Costarricense de Drogas; Escuela Nacional de Policía, Instituto Nacional de las Mujeres; Ministerio de Planificación Económica, Dirección de Desarrollo de la Comunidad; Municipalidad de Santa Cruz; Municipalidad de Aguirre; Municipalidad de San José; Municipalidad de Desamparados; Municipalidad de Heredia; Municipalidad de Montes de Oca; Municipalidad de Moravia; Municipalidad de Los Chiles; Municipalidad de Limón; Fundación Acción Joven; Fundación Costa Rica- Canadá; y Fundación Procal
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