At today’s ‘Ireland in Central America’ conference, hosted by the Embassy of Ireland in Mexico, delegates will hear how GOAL has been delivering emergency response programs in the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region and longer-term programs to promote fair, inclusive, and sustainable market systems, resilient health, and climate resilient food security, since 1998. In 2022, 150+ GOAL staff will deliver 24 of these projects to the value of $23 million in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, and these projects will benefit over 600,000 people.
In determining program delivery needs, GOAL’s LAC Region team cites four areas of focus:
- CLIMATE CRISIS: The LAC Region is one of the most vulnerable in the world to disasters due to natural and man-made threats. Climate change brings new challenges to the region with increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, including heat and drought, tropical glaciers, coral reef bleaching, and sea level rise, increasing biomasses and carbon losses, high yield decline for wheat and maize, and increasing risk of diarrheal diseases, dengue and malaria.
- INEQUALITY AND REDUCED SOCIAL COHESION: The LAC Region comprises some of the most unequal countries in the world (according to the World Economic Forum GINI Index), including Colombia, Honduras and Haiti (Haiti is by far the poorest country ranking 163rd out of 187)
- MIGRATION: Migration to the US from the countries of the northern triangle of Central America (Guatemala, Nicaragua and Honduras) and migration to the interior of the region (the migration of Haitians to the Dominican Republic) has been a trend for many years and, during the last five years, there has been an exodus of Venezuelans to other countries in the region.
- URBANIZATION: 80% of the population live in urban areas in 2021, which has accelerated over the last 10+ years due to climate changes, conflict, and the increase rural to urban migration
Speaking at today’s ‘Ireland in Central America’ Conference, Bernard McCaul, GOAL’s Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), said: “The LAC region, one of the most unequal regions in the world, is experiencing increasing levels of fragility, reduced social cohesion and informal urbanization. Latin America is already the most urbanized region in the world, and it is estimated that by 2025, 86% of the population will live in cities and towns. It is also estimated that one third of Latin America’s population currently live in what is defined as extreme poverty by the UN, living on less than $1.90 per day.”
“GOAL is working in partnership with local authorities, international organizations, grassroots organizations and UN agencies to deliver programs when there are acute humanitarian crises, triggered by manmade or natural hazards. GOAL is also working to respond to chronic crises driven by growing urban and rural food insecurity, high risk gang-controlled violent neighborhoods and climate vulnerability,” continued Bernard McCaul.