Regional integrated programme on climate change, air quality, and health for Central America and the Dominican Republic

This project developed an integrated Regional Programme on Air Quality, Climate Change and Health for Central America to strengthen governance mechanisms, foster high-level political commitment and maximize the benefits of related regional and national strategies in the region. It built upon the roadmap for integrated climate change mitigation and clean air action developed in a previous CCAC-funded workshop with the Central American Integration System (SICA). 

This project also assessed how short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) and the health benefits of SLCP mitigation can be integrated into the updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) currently under development in SICA member states, Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, and the Dominican Republic.  


The main objective of the project is to develop an integrated Regional Programme on Air Quality, Climate Change and Health in order to strengthen governance mechanisms, foster high-level political commitment. and maximize the benefits of action. The project will achieve this by:

  • Supporting achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals related to air quality, climate and health
  • Strengthening institutional capacity to analyze impacts and benefits at the regional, national, and sub-national (municipal and local) levels Improving knowledge of existing regional and national initiatives to address air quality and to identify priority sectors based on estimated emissions
  • Providing technical training to support enhanced NDCs

Why we're doing this work

The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) noted in their 3rd assessment that Central America is the most vulnerable tropical region to climate change. Air pollution is one of the top ten health risks in the region. Yet, the region’s energy-induced fossil fuel emissions are contributing to deteriorating air quality with adverse health effects on local populations.  

Air pollution in the region’s largest cities exceeds the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) air quality guidelines. In 2018, the WHO demonstrated that ambient and household air pollution accounted for more than 23,500 deaths per year in SICA member countries.  

There is great potential to address emissions in the region in a coordinated way and doing so will deliver multiple associated benefits linked to improved air quality, such as improved human health and reduced crop losses. SICA is advancing this work with its Regional Climate Change Strategy (ERCC), a framework to develop harmonized air quality regulations, as well as various initiatives to support access to clean household energy. 

What we're doing

  • Baseline document (completed): Identifying progress and priorities for the region through a mapping of stakeholders and current regulatory framework, a synergy analysis of initiatives, as well as a mapping of the contributions of each initiative.  
  • Roadmap (completed): Preparing the roadmap document in consultation with relevant environment and health stakeholders. This process will deliver a framework for integrating action on climate change, air quality and health in the region.  
  • Training: Conducting a course for regional, national and sub-national decision makers on the economic, social and health impacts associated with air pollution.

Who's involved

  • Central American Integration System (SICA) member countries: Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Panama, Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua
  • Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) 
  • Central American Commission for Environment and Development (CCAD)