Representatives from Guatemalan institutions get to know the opportunities for climate change policies in their country through one of CCAFS project. 

An outreach tour was held to increase the popularity of the project "Shaping equitable climate change policies for resilient food systems across Central America and the Caribbean". Specifically, the tour included officials from different Guatemalan institutions and concerned the projects' scope, methodologies and activities for 2019 and 2020. It took place from March 11 to 15 in Guatemala City.

The project is funded by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and developed by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) as well as the Center for International Cooperation in Agricultural Research for Development (CIRAD). It seeks to analyze existing policies and regulations, including to identify obstacles as well as success factors. This way it can inform the most appropriate policy combinations to address the complex and intersectional agenda of climate change and food as well as nutrition security in Latin America.

This visit also looked to add participation of stakeholders from the agricultural, livestock and food as well as nutrition security sectors. Accordingly, key stakeholders were identified that would help to compile information about figures, cartography, policies, barriers and opportunities within the agri-food sector of Guatemala.

Likewise, all activities and projects carried out by CCAFS in Central America (mainly in Guatemala) were analyzed. This included specific information on communication between them. 

During the tour, international institutions were visited, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ). Besides, participants got to know academic and scientific institutions such as the National Institute of Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology (INSIVUMEH); Institute of Research and Projection on Natural Environment and Society (IARNA) and Sustainable Economic Observatory (OES). On the political side, the tour included institutions as the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARN), Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food (MAGA) and Secretariat of Food and Nutritional Security (SESAN).

Two major positions were identified among the impressions given by several of the actors concerning their strategy to face the challenges of climate change:

  • Adaptation must be made based on capital (construction of mega water catchment works, irrigation districts, financing of greenhouses, etc.), which serve for any climatic behavior that may arise
  • Adaptation needs to be based on climate knowledge, the strengthening of short and medium-term climate forecasts as well as the management of information for good decision making.

Puplic policies on climate change

On policies, the actors emphasized that much knowledge exists on the subject of climate change. However, they argue that mechanisms are needed to make these policies operational and thus be able to respond on time with the challenges that climate change brings daily.

In particular, there is a need to improve the management of climatic shocks (droughts, floods) that are intensified and repeated. In order to do this, it is necessary to have more efficient and equitable interinstitutional mechanisms of responses based on anticipation. Articulating instruments that combine short-term objectives (food supply) and ensure an increase in household resilience in the mid-term would be also very helpful.

On political initiatives, most of the representatives see the need for a water law that contains guidelines for the management and use of water resources since currently there is no strong regulation in this regard. However, they recognize that the irrigation policy is specifically being strengthened in the agricultural sector, which is also very important for the country.

Institutions insisted on the need for information transfer as a strategy to implement policies. Tools as the Participatory Integrated Climate Services for Agriculture (PICSA) and the monitoring system of the International Development Research Center (IDRC), received good reviews and interest to be used on a larger scale in different parts of Guatemala 

During this tour, a path of cooperation and teamwork with the Guatemalan institutions was cleared, with the aim of advancing in a project whose results will be useful for the agricultural sector. It will also improve the availability of food in vulnerable territories of Guatemala.

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Jesús David Martínez Salgado is the Climate-Smart Village Coordinator for CCAFS Latin America. Jean Francois Le-Coq is a CIRAD - CIAT researcher and leader for CCAFS project.