The European Union, the Secretariat General of the Central American Integration System (SICA), the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany are pleased to announce the launch of a "Green Fund for Central America", for a total amount of 88.1 million Euros.
Today in Panama City, the European Commission's Director-General for International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO), Mr. Stefano Manservisi, the Secretary-General of SICA, Mr. Vinicio Cerezo, Panama's Minister of the Environment, Mr. Emilio Sempris, and the German Ambassador to Panama, Mr. Uwe Wolfgang Heye, signed an agreement to officially launch a new "Green Fund" programme for Central America, which is actually made up of two components: a "Green Fund for Development" and the "Green MSMEs II Initiative".
The new Green Fund for Central America will support mitigation and adaptation measures to help the SICA region become more resilient to the effects of climate change. The EU will support the programme through a 34 million Euro contribution, while CABEI will provide 7.1 million Euros and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany will contribute, through the KfW bank, 40 million Euros in loans and a 1 million Euro donation, to which will be added another 6 million Euros from the German Ministry of Environment.
Director-General Manservisi stated: "Only a joint effort by all parties will enable us to meet the ambitious objectives that we have set internationally, most notably through the 2016 Paris Agreement. I am pleased to see that our SICA partners in the region are accompanying us in this critical mission which is the fight against climate change. Climate change is a common problem that confronts us all and that does not stop at borders."
Secretary-General Vinicio Cerezo added: "We are working to promote actions that will lead to environmental sustainability jointly with our partners. The European Union is a strategic ally in our integration process and in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Green Fund for Development will provide investments at the local level to improve resilience to climate change in vulnerable areas of the Central American region, and will have as its main focus the restoration of forest landscapes and the implementation of integrated ecosystems. The resources will be administered by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), in coordination with the Central American Commission for the Environment and Development (CCAD), and is supported by the REDD+ Landscape Programme of the Ministry of the Environment of Germany.
The Green MSMEs II Initiative will focus on generating renewable energy and improving energy efficiency in Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). Ultimately, this initiative seeks to reduce energy consumption, curtail CO2 emissions, and thereby improve the environmental situation of the region. The initiative is funded through the Latin American Investment Facility (LAIF), and will be administered by the German bank KfW and implemented by CABEI.
SICA countries (which include Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, and the Dominican Republic) are among those most exposed to climate change in terms of environment and development. In the last decade, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic and El Salvador ranked among the 15 most vulnerable countries in the world, and over 8,200 people in SICA countries have been killed by causes related to natural disasters. Over this same period, losses related to climate change have added up to approximately USD 19,000 million across the region. Moving forward, it is critical that SICA countries strengthen their resilience to the effects of climate change, increase their disaster risk preparedness, and implement adaptation measures.
The "Green Fund for Central America" which was launched today in Panama City represents the most recent articulation of the partnership between the European Union and its Member States and the Central American (SICA) region in the fight against climate change. The new action signed today will be carried out in Central America, where the EU continues to be an engaged cooperation actor, with a view to the successful attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.