Costa Rica, which means “Rich Coast”, constitutionally abolished its army permanently in 1949 is the only Latin American country included in the list of the world’s 22 older democracies. Costa Rica has consistently been among the top Latin American countries in the Human Development Index, ranked 62nd in the world in 2010, and is cited by the UNDP as one of the countries that has attained much higher human development than other countries at the same income levels. The country is ranked 3rd in the world, and 1st among the Americas, in terms of the 2010 Environmental Performance Index.
In 2007 the Costa Rican government announced plans for Costa Rica to become the first carbon neutral country by 2021. According to the New Economics Foundation, Costa Rica ranks first in the Happy Planet Index and is the “greenest” country in the world.