Climate change adaptation in Central America: A review of national policy efforts

As a tropical developing region, Central America (CA) is one of the areas most vulnerable to current climate variability and future climate change. CA had already been severely affected by changes in climate variability and extreme events and there is a grave potential for an increase in the risk of disasters and therefore multiple losses due to climate change.

CA has a combination of social, economic, and governance factors that exacerbate its exposition to risk. For example, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua are more vulnerable compared to Costa Rica and Panama, where governance, health, and income indicators point to better conditions to face current climate variability and sustain adaptation to climate change.

The authorities of the region have responded to the climate change challenge with a combination of measures integrated into laws, strategies, and plans. Notwithstanding the progress reported in this article, recent developments are hampering and even converting into regressions the advancements in adaptation policy discussed here. Among the destabilizing situations of the economic and political fabric, which sustain progress, we could mention the uprisings and repression in Nicaragua; conflict and threats among the executive and judiciary powers in Guatemala; challenged electoral results, corruption scandals, and social unrest in Honduras; and the increasing fiscal deficit and political deadlock in Costa Rica to advance state reforms. This situation supports the conclusions on corruption as a threat to adaptation efforts, and the vital role of institutions for advancement adaptation.

Read the full paper here: Segura, L.D., Van Zeijl-Rozema, A. & Martens, P. (2022). Climate change adaptation in Central America: A review of the national policy efforts. Latin American Policy, November 2022,

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