This report by ECLAC published in March 2012  prior to the Rio+20 Conference offers an analysis of progress made and difficulties encountered in Latin America and the Caribbean in implementing global commitments on sustainable development since 1992. It goes on to propose guidelines for moving towards sustainable development in the region.
Published in Reading List
By Guy Edwards, Victoria Elmore* and Jin Hyung Lee**   The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) is underway and is due to be completed by 2013/14. There are 84 Latin American and Caribbean contributing authors out of a total 833. As we approach the publication date, these scientists have a vital role to play in promoting the importance of climate science in Latin America and persuading governments to create robust and ambitious national and international climate policies.  In turn, regional governments should continue increasing levels of funding and scientific cooperation on climate science given the significant role it can play in developing policies on climate.
This study prepared by Guy Edwards attempts to identify the priority needs of Latin American and Caribbean policy-makers with respect to climate change and development planning and highlights key organizations, actors and programs that are operating in the climate change and development arena in the region.
Published in Adaptation
This document, published by the ECLAC and carried out in collaboration with regional governments, the EU, IDB and various other political, academic, and research institutions, summarizes the aggregate economic impact of climate change in Latin America and the Caribbean. On the basis of national and regional studies, the report offers important economic considerations concerning climate change, including an estimated 1% loss of annual GDP in the region's countries between 2010 and 2100 unless a consensus on mitigation actions is reached.
Published in Climate Finance

The Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL), Alicia Bárcena, has warned of the serious consequences if the world fails to tackle climate change in tandem with grappling with the financial crisis.

A delay in action to address climate change could have serious consequences, especially for the most vulnerable regions and countries in the world, such as Latin America.

Bárcena stressed the importance of securing a universal consensus in Copenhagen in December 2009 on new commitments to reduce emissions.

"We cannot detain our efforts to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions at the levels proposed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, at around 450 to 500 parts per million," she said.

CEPAL has suggested preparing a regional agenda on energy policy for the short and medium run that may include improving energy security, promoting energy savings and efficiency, diversifying energy sources, and promoting social equality in the access and consumption of energy.
Published in Regional Organisations

A report by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL) argues that even though the region is one of the most vulnerable in the world to climate change, its approach to adaptation is impulsive.

Regional governments must adapt to the economic, social and environmental impact of climate change and adopt a strategic approach towards developing a low carbon economy.

Improving adaptation requires making efforts to protect the structure of public finance, the stability of the private sector and economic performance. The region should also gear itself up for changes associated with the response of developed countries to their needs of mitigation in trade and investment.

Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) countries are already carrying out studies on the economy and climate change, which will provide greater certainty about the magnitude of adaptation costs and the potential gains of mitigation.

Yet the 2009 climate change negotiations taking place in Copenhagen to sign a post-Kyoto treaty are fast approaching and it is unclear whether LAC governments will be able to formulate strong negotiating positions given these climate-economic studies are not even ready.

A number of regional bodies – the World Bank, CEPAL and the Inter-American Development Bank – are leading the drive for action on climate change in LAC through attempting to strengthen the capacity of governments to grapple with climate change and energy related issues.

This work is vital given the slim resources available at the national and regional levels. National climate change offices and environment ministries would scarcely exist without external funding. Whereas the 2008 report on MERCOSUR’s activities does not even mention climate change and the Andean Community admits that its strategy on climate change has still not materialized.

To combat this disequilibrium between the growing resources and expertise on global warming on the one hand and a lack of political will on the other, greater collaboration between organizations such as CEPAL and regional governments is urgently needed to strengthen LAC’s hand at the negotiations.

This collaboration should focus on the creation of a LAC climate change strategy drawing on the existing synergies and opportunities endorsed by governments and regional organizations.

Although throwing LAC countries into one basket is unhelpful given the asymmetries and differences between them, there are a number of areas in common: it is the most urbanised region; reliant on exporting primary goods and agricultural products; a strong record on renewable energy; abundant forest reserves and an interest in reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation; and a rapidly expanding middle class interspersed with persistent inequality.

A failure to collaborate further will ensure LAC governments have little choice but to resort to reactionary negotiating positions in Copenhagen this December. To take advantage of the mitigation opportunities and to effectively adapt while benefiting the region, a measured and complementary strategy on climate change is needed straight away.
Published in Regional Organisations