More than 30% of Guatemala’s population is employed in the agriculture sector. Increasing climate phenomena have the potential to severely impact food security, economic opportunities, and livelihoods, given that most farming relies upon rainfed agriculture. Certain areas of Guatemala are more at risk than others, and its Dry Corridor is one of the most vulnerable to extreme hazards. This area, a region encompassing parts of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua (though it extends even further north and south), is typically hardest hit by droughts, while flooding is also becoming a growing threat. The Dry Corridor is also home to some of Guatemala’s poorest communities, which endured a 78.1% decrease in maize production in 2019 due to lack of rain.1
As part of its effort to plan adequate adaptation measures, the Guatemalan Ministry of Natural Resources and Climate Change sought assistance through the NDC Partnership Climate Action Enhancement Package to develop a vulnerability analysis for the Dry Corridor that would ultimately inform Guatemala’s updated NDC and other related planning frameworks. The CTCN offered to conduct the analysis and CTCN Consortium member CATIE (the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center of Costa Rica) was selected to implement the assistance.
The vulnerability analysis included a review of temperature, precipitation, and extreme climate events over the period 1980-2020. In order to gather inputs from local communities and experts alike, CATIE created a technical advisory group and solicited the participation of a large and varied group of stakeholders in order to gather data on vulnerabilities from a socio-economic, cultural and environmental context. Based upon the information gathered, they generated a series of maps to describe the vulnerability of the area and to assist in the prioritization of specific areas that are most exposed to soil degradation, or prone to severe floods, prolonged periods of drought, or other extreme climatic events. They also identified populations that have already experienced compromised food security due to decreased food production. Rural communities classified as highly vulnerable to food insecurity and those living in poverty and extreme poverty were prioritised, including indigenous peoples and women farmers with insufficient or unproductive land. Many of these communities are relegated to farming on hillside areas, where soil quality is low and/or eroding.
“The successful implementation of this technical assistance will provide significant contributions to increase adaptive capacities in the agriculture, livestock and food security sector, by providing key information for the implementation of adaptation measures. The information, which will also be presented in a special form, will identify different realities within the Dry Corridor, which will be of great help in taking decisions. The information generated will allow sectoral institutions to adapt their planning instruments in the short term and will allow channelling of resources and efforts in a more effective and efficient manner.”— Ms. Jennifer Zamora Head of the Department for Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Guatemala
Finally, adaptation actions were recommended for the at-risk agricultural, livestock and food security sectors, and these were validated through two national workshops for incorporation in the NDC update. Two project concept notes were also developed in order to seek funding for implementation of the adaptation recommendations.