Following the 1948 civil war, the National Army of Costa Rica was formally abolished – a policy enshrined in the Constitution. Involving a redirection of military spending into social programmes and social investment in the areas of education, health and the environment, the policy also promotes conflict resolution by non-military means and has allowed Costa Rica to achieve some of the highest living standards in the region.
In 2013, Costa Rica’s historic constitutional aboition of its army received an honourable mention by the World Future Council’s annual Future Policy Award, held on the theme of disarmament, in partnership with the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs and the Inter-Parliamentary Union. On 23 October 2013, at a ceremony held at the UN Headquarters in New York, Costa Rica was recognised as one of few states to have constitutionally abolished its armed forces and to have diverted the money into improving the environment, education and health. Read more