In an effort to conserve Guatemala’s wealth of natural resources and support the country’s efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change, the new Climate, Nature and Communities in Guatemala (CNCG) Project was launched today. CNCG will invest $25 million in Guatemala over the next five years between 2013 and 2018.
This is an initiative of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to support Guatemala. This project will be implemented by a consortium of environmental, academic and business institutions led by the international conservation organization the Rainforest Alliance, together with Fundación Defensores de la Naturaleza, Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, the Guatemalan Exporters’ Association (AGEXPORT), The Nature Conservancy and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
These institutions will join forces to promote a process to mitigate the negative effects of climate change and conserve natural resources through five areas of focus: supporting rural community small and medium enterprises to market sustainable forest products and services; promoting national strategies to reduce deforestation; building community capacity to adapt to the effects of climate change; increasing the capacity of ten environmental organizations in Guatemala; and supporting the first steps of a national low carbon emissions development strategy.
CNCG will be implemented in four regions of Guatemala: the Maya Biosphere Reserve, the Sierra de las Minas Biosphere Reserve, the departments of Alta Verapaz and Baja Verapaz, and the five departments of the Western Highlands (Huehuetenango, San Marcos, Quetzaltenango, Totonicapán and Quiché). The latter region is one of the most vulnerable to climate change and also faces the highest chronic child malnutrition rates in the country. Under this project, “activities in the Western Highlands combine with health and agriculture initiatives to promote more integrated program implementation focused on reducing the vulnerability of the population,” said Kevin Kelly, USAID/Guatemala Mission Director.
“Guatemala is one of the richest countries in biodiversity but it is also one of the most vulnerable to global climate change,” said Patricia Orantes, Chief of Party of CNCG. “This project will help not only to protect forests and biodiversity, but also to create employment and mitigate the effects of climate change.”
The implementation of CNCG will significantly benefit rural communities. “The project will improve the conservation and sustainable management of forests,” stated Luis Góngora from the Melchor de Mencos-based association Impulsores Suchitecos, a member of the Association of Petén Forest Communities. “This is essential as it will help us to care for and preserve the forest in which we live, benefitting both us and future generations.”