Central American environment ministers have called for a “regional action plan on climate and clean air” to address the increasing problems of both air pollution and the impact of climate change.
This was the result of a presentation about the opportunities to multiple benefits on public health, agriculture and other development objectives from measures that reduce black carbon, methane and HFCs. “This is a fantastic opportunity for an integrated approach and planning that we need in this region” said H.E. Lina Pohl, El Salvador’s Minister of Environment.
The region’s environment ministers discussed this topic at their 61st meeting of the Central American Commission for Environment and Development (CCAD) held on 28 May 2019 in Antigua, Guatemala.
Among the areas that elicited the most interest during the dialogue was the health benefits, the focus on the agriculture sector and the possibilities to address efficient cooling, especially for the cold chain in transport. Costa Rica added the benefits of assessing the impact of the short-lived climate pollutants as part of their emerging long-term decarbonization plan and revision of the NDC.
The IPCC noted in their 3rd assessment that Central America is the most vulnerable tropical region to climate change. The assessment of SLCPs in Latin America and the Caribbean launched by the Coalition in 2018 demonstrated that the main black carbon sources in the region are from indoor pollution using biomass for cooking, and from transport.
Guatemala’s Minister of Environment, H.E. Alfonso Alonso, who chaired and hosted the meetin,g called for the eight members of the Central American Integration System – Belize, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama – to join the Climate & Clean Air Coalition as a regional group. Currently only Costa Rica, Dominican Republic and Panama are partners in CCAC.
To advance their call, the ministers expressed their support for a workshop to develop the first elements of a regional action plan, hosted by the Dominican Republic on 3 and 4 June 2019. This will set the basis for a road map and scenarios for the region, with the possibility to highlight progress already at the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit in September 2019.
The discussion on climate & clean air between Central America environment ministers at this meeting was arranged as part of the Climate & Clean Air Coalition’s “Action Programme to Address the 1.5 C Challenge,” with the support of UN Environment.