UN photography mission: green livestock

Last week I was hired by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to photograph farms in the south of Costa Rica where significant efforts to reduce greenhouse gases emissions are being implemented in these sector. Globally, the agriculture activity as a whole emits more carbon than the whole transport sector, so you can start thinking about the importance of these types of initiatives.

Costa Rica, with the help of UNDP, is initiating its National Appropiate Mitigation Action (NAMA) on livestock, this is part of the country's commitment towards sustainable development. The project propose an emissions reduction of 6 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent, and an additional 4 million tons of CO2 sequestered by the biomass of each farm.

Photographing the good environmental management of these farms

After a long drive of 250km, I met with Pablo and Hugo, two of the experts in charge of the project on low emissions livestock. We visited 2 farms, each of them with amazing things to explore, from the beautiful landscape of the tropical forest and its great biodiversity, to the numerous initiatives that the owners of the farms are putting in practice in order to better manage its crops and livestock.

Among the different efforts that we documented through photography are: forest conservation, adequate water management, living/green fences, forage grasses and traceability of each animal, among many others.

To better visualize all of these important activities, I used a drone thtat I sent about 600m from where we were and at an alitude of 120 meters. Whith this technology, we have now the opportunity to analyse more efficiently the success of these type of projects.

I was really glad to bring this equiptment not just for the sake of the project, but it also let the farmers see their farms like they had never seen them before, it was very nice to see their expressions when they saw their life's work from the sky.

The Costa Rican Government used these pictures in a report that the national authorities took to the COP21 in Paris in order to communicate the advance of Costa Rica towards a more sustainable and prosperus society. I feel very honored to have had the opportunity to contribute with this, and it makes me believe even more in the power of photography in sustainable development.

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