During the campaign, Pacheco promised to seek new foreign markets for Costa Rican coffee by promoting the environmentally sound cultivation methods used by Costa Rican growers. Like both his PLN opponent and his predecessor, Pacheco was committed to working toward privatization of the country's telecommunications and electric utility industries. But Pacheco will have to find a way to sell the idea to Costa Ricans; when his predecessor, President Rodríguez, broached the subject of privatization, massive protests forced Rodríguez to back away from the subject. In his inauguration speech, Pacheco set the goal of 6% annual growth in GDP, and promised to improve education, health care, national and citizen security, and environmental protection. Reflecting his background as a psychiatrist, he emphasized the need for a national plan for mental health. Pacheco may be forced to opt for tax reform and even the introduction of a value-added tax (VAT) to pare down the budget deficit.
In January 2003, Pacheco's government announced a large public works project designed to improve transport links between the nation's major tourist and commercial centers. The Naranja-Florencia de San Carlos roadway will cost US $66 million, and is being partially funded by loans from the Taiwanese government. A Taiwanese construction company will also be doing the construction on the project.
A topic that demands immediate attention from Pacheco is unemployment, which rose to about 6.1% in 2001. Pacheco pledged to make alleviation of poverty his top priority, outlining a seven-point program to create jobs, improve education, and redistribute wealth. He asserted that, if spent wisely, the US $500 million in the federal budget earmarked to alleviate poverty would be adequate.
In addition, observers predicted that the Pacheco administration would toughen environmental laws. One of his early pledges was to "declare peace with nature" in Costa Rica. His government proposed the elimination of financial incentives for logging in the pristine rainforests of Costa Rica; while Pacheco does not oppose all logging, he feels the industry must be carefully managed to preserve the rainforest environment for future generations. Another industry that is often viewed with suspicion when it comes to the environment is oil exploration. In March 2002, the previous administration rejected plans by a U.S.-based oil company to drill for oil in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Costa Rica, citing the company's weak environmental impact study. Pacheco, in his inaugural address, announced that Costa Rica will be free of oil exploration and exploitation and open-pit mining. He also declared "absolute protection for primary forests so that not a single tree there is cut."