The countries of Central America (Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Belize, Nicaragua, Panama, and Costa Rica) have a total population of about 50 million. Even though the countries are partly very different, they have some things in common: A high proportion of the population lives below the poverty line. Violence and crime as well as weak state structures hamper economic development. Central America is one of the most vulnerable regions in the world to extreme weather events, which are exacerbated by climate change. Poor living conditions and a lack of prospects are causing many people to flee Central America for the USA. Large areas of Central America are covered with forest, which has an above-average biodiversity. These forests have been subject to increasing deforestation pressure in recent decades. In addition, there are also important marine and coastal ecosystems in the region that are threatened by human impact. All these factors pose major challenges for the Central American countries. German DC has long cooperated bilaterally with the countries of the region in various sectors. In the course of BMZ 2030, however, it was decided to focus development cooperation on regional partners from 2021. On behalf of the German government, KfW Development Bank therefore supports the Central American countries through cooperation with the regional organisations BCIE (Central American Bank for Economic Integration) and SICA (Central American System for Economic Integration) in the following areas:
In the area of "Climate and Energy, Just Transition", KfW Development Bank supports projects for climate protection and adaptation to climate change via the Central American development bank BCIE.Support in the area of "Protecting our natural livelihoods" includes projects via SICA that aim to protect both terrestrial and marine biodiversity (e.g. protected areas). In the area of "flight and migration", SICA finances approaches that improve the living and employment prospects of returning migrants in the countries of the Northern Triangle (Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador). Many of the projects with SICA are implemented through international non-governmental organisations. In the coming years, in addition to crisis management - the consequences of the pandemic and extreme weather events - the main focus will be on continuing to pursue promising approaches and developing new ones together with local partners in the central issues of environment and climate.