Latin America

Costa Rica


Strengthening of the National Social Protection Strategy Puente al Desarrollo to Break the Cycle of Poverty at the Local Level with a Gender and Environmental Perspective

Sustainable Development Goals

The programme brief description: During the last three decades, per capita income in Costa Rica has grown significantly and the country has made significant investments in social development. In order to continue these advances, Costa Rica needs to address the inequality that women and girls face. This Joint Programme will thus support the government’s vision to strengthen the social protection system and to accelerate SDG achievement through concrete changes in institutional arrangements and local initiatives. Focusing on leaving no one behind, it includes a local approach and an institutional one. Targeting women and their families in three of the most excluded coastal and border cantons, three local models will be implemented to reduce women’s unemployment, increase productivity and boost poverty reduction at local level, with clear indicators and a monitoring system to ensure results and facilitate replication in other cantons. Interventions will be grounded on strengthening local participatory approaches for local development to ensure tailor-made, environmentally sustainable solutions with local ownership through Local Innovative Gender-Sensitive Laboratories.

Approach: This programme considers an intersectional gender, intercultural and geographic approach in order to leave no one behind. The programme will be using at local level a people-centered design thinking approach, so that interventions are designed around and focused on women and their families, their rights and their context, in alliance with the National Laboratory of Public Innovation as a space for gender sensitive co-creation.

Target groups: Women, Youth, Indigenious peoples, rural workers, Persons of African Decent.


  • 60.4% of women in the workforce, versus 72.9% of men, have social security coverage; this difference is the highest in Latin America.
  • 42.5% of the population, 65 years of age and older, does not have a pension or salary. Disaggregated by sex, this percentage is 25.9% for men and 56.9% for women.
  • The JCP seeks to reduce poverty among women and their families through their economic empowerment and the promotion of low carbon footprint activities.
  • The unemployment rate for women is 3 percentage points (39.9%) higher than the unemployment rate for men in Costa Rica. 
  • 20.9% of women in Costa Rica suffer from food insecurity.
  • 18.9% of women in Costa Rica feel discriminated against because of their sex, compared to only 4.3% of men.
  • While men spend on average 15 hours per week on unpaid domestic work, women spend 37 hours per week on these activities.
  • Reports of domestic violence in Costa Rica have quadrupled in recent years.

Quick facts

Total budget:
US $ 2,691,100

UN Agencies:


National Partners:

Ministry of Human Development and the National Institute for Social Welfare (IMAS) (EPD Leader and Welfare component Leader), Francisco Delgado, Viceminister; Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MTSS) (Labour component Leader), Marco Solano, National Employment Director; Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG) (Agriculture component Leader), Juan Ricardo Wong Ruiz, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG); National Women's Institute (INAMU), Lorena Flores, Technical Director of Strategic Areas


February 1, 2020 to January 30, 2022 (24 Months)