A report from ReliefWeb.
A new regional program will support the most vulnerable communities in the Central American Dry Corridor and the arid zones of the Dominican Republic to face the effects of climate change and increase their resilience.
The Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) provided USD2 million for the program’s formulation under a framework agreement signed yesterday with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
The Central American Integration System’s (SICA) Development and Environment Commission will oversee the program’s strategic direction and present it to the Green Climate Fund to obtain funding, estimated to be close to USD 400 million.
The program will promote sustainable knowledge-based agrifood systems, fostering the provision of ecosystem services on which many communities depend.
Its main focus will be to strengthen the capacities of SICA’s member countries to fulfill the commitments of the environmental agenda and ensure an adequate territorial-approach to ecosystem and biodiversity management.
“The actions and new investments that will be implemented through this program will offer comprehensive responses to the current negative conditions that affect vulnerable communities,” said Alejandro Rodríguez Zamora, Executive Vice President of CABEI.
Tito E. Díaz, FAO’s Coordinator for Mesoamerica, stressed that climate change exacerbates the vulnerability of families living in the Central American Dry Corridor.
“It is essential to move from emergency response to comprehensive environmental and socio-economic actions that addresses the structural causes of vulnerability, such as degradation of natural resources, inequality, poverty, and low diversification of livelihoods” Diaz said.
The new program will allow the design of innovative financial mechanisms to improve the livelihood resilience of thousands of family farmers and strengthen agro-climatic and early warning information systems.
A united effort to combat climate change
The new joint program of SICA/CABEI/FAO/UN Environment will create instruments that will help countries design and implement national programs, contributing, from an environmental standpoint, to greater Central American integration.
At a technical level, FAO will lead an interdisciplinary group of experts that will include members of CABEI and UN-Environment, to develop the new regional program.
“We will work to recover key ecosystems for climate change adaptation, such as the forests that regulate water supply and stabilize soils,” said UN Environment regional Climate Change Coordinator, Gustavo Máñez.
The program will support countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and meet international commitments such as the Paris Agreement, the Nationally Predicted and Determined Contributions and the Sustainable Development Goals.
“Implementing an environmental and climate action agenda is essential to reduce food insecurity and poverty in Central America,” said Diaz stressing that the impacts of climate change on food production can undermine regional hunger reduction.
CABEI and FAO Strategic alliance bears first fruits
In June of last year, CABEI and FAO established a technical and financial alliance to contribute to food and nutrition security and sustainable development.
The agreement signed yesterday between CABEI Executive Vice President, Attorney Alejandro Rodriguez Zamora, and the FAO Coordinator for Mesoamerica is the first great fruit born of this alliance, which will lay a solid foundation for the development of the regional resilience program.
The agreement was signed during the LII Meeting of the Council of Ministers of the SICA Environment and Development Commission (CCAD) in Puntarenas.
Millions requiring assistance in the Central American Dry
According to the long-term Climate Risk Index, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador are among the 15 countries with the greatest risk.
These countries are part of the most exposed and vulnerable part of the Central American Dry Corridor, which accounts for 10.5 million people and half of Central American’s basic grain producers.
According to the FAO, 1.6 million people live in a situation of food insecurity in the Dry Corridor, including zones with limited infrastructure and services, as well as a lack of resources to cope with climate change.