In recent years, Central America has suffered several large-scale natural disasters that have left behind a legacy of death and destruction. The disruption of economic activity and costly reconstruction efforts create a heavy burden of social exclusion and debt. Given the region’s propensity for natural disasters—which are likely to increase due to changing climate patterns— there is a need for better regional cooperation in risk management.
On March 29, the Latin America Initiative at Brookings and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration hosted a discussion on the challenges and implications of climate change for the Central American isthmus and the role that the public and private sectors can play in mitigating and adapting to risks. A panel of experts examined these issues, followed by a keynote address by José María Figueres, former president of Costa Rica. Brookings Senior Fellow Katherine Sierra moderated the discussion.
After the program, panelists took audience questions.
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[On the Global Climate Action Summit] I think that this summit’s been very useful. It’s a demonstration of activism, it’s a demonstration of will, it’s a demonstration of engagement by all sorts of sub-national players, and I think that’s all been tremendously useful. But, it doesn’t fill the gap of the absence of the United States at a national level. The US federal government can drive action all around the entire country, not just state-by-state.