This infographic is based on data from our Initiative 20x20 project.
Between 2001 and 2012, Latin America and the Caribbean lost 36 million hectares of forest and grassland to agricultural expansion, and nearly half of the region's greenhouse gas emissions are the result of land-use change, forestry, and agriculture. So there’s a clear solution to curbing climate change in the LAC region—restore life to its degraded landscapes.
That's where Initiative 20x20 comes in.
Initiative 20x20 brings together national and regional commitments plus $365 million of private finance to restore forests and ecosystems, reduce poverty and improve agricultural productivity
Bringing 20 million hectares of degraded land in Latin America and the Caribbean into restoration by 2020.
Governments, businesses, development agencies, and NGOs are increasingly turning to economic valuation as a way to protect coral reefs and mangroves. This process makes the economic case for protection and sustainable use of natural resources by showing the monetary, employment, and infrastructure benefits ecosystems provide—metrics that are easily understood by decision-makers.
But not all economic valuations are created equal. WRI's new guidebook shows how NGOs and other stakeholders can conduct economic valuations in ways that lead to real change on the ground.
Tropical coastal ecosystems—including coral reefs, mangroves, beaches, and seagrasses—provide a range of valuable goods and services to people and economies across the Caribbean. These ecosystems contribute to tourism, fisheries, shoreline protection, and more.
Roughly 75 percent of the Caribbean's coral reefs are threatened--with more than 30 percent ranking in the "high" or "very high" threat category. But one reef system in Cuba, Jardines de la Reina (the "Gardens of the Queen"), offers great lessons—and hope—for effective coral reef management.
Raising awareness of threats to coral reefs and providing information and tools to manage coastal habitats more effectively.
Supporting the sustainable management of coastal ecosystems by quantifying their economic value.
Inspiring, enabling and mobilizing action to restore vitality to degraded landscapes and forests around the globe.
UPDATE, 4/19/13: Fourteen Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries adopted an ambitious Plan of Action to improve access rights on April 17, 2013. Read WRI's press release for more details about the Plan of Action for the LAC Principle 10 Regional Declaration.
Without the right laws and safeguards in place, development can come at the expense of the environment and local communities. This point is especially evident in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Newspapers across the region regularly document conflicts over land and natural resource use, hydroelectric power development, oil exploitation, expansion of agriculture into virgin forests, and the disruption of indigenous practices.
Many of these conflicts occur because countries lack strong laws and practices that encourage the public’s access to information and early participation in government decision-making. Without these laws in place, citizens can’t legally obtain information on projects like proposed oil wells or highways—or engage in the decision-making processes about developing and approving these projects. Governments can then make decisions without considering the impact on local citizens. The resulting social, environmental, or health costs often fall disproportionately on the affected communities. (See our video, "Sunita," for more information on the need for access to information laws).
But the situation in the LAC region could be poised to change, depending on what happens at a meeting this week. Representatives from 13 countries and two observer countries will meet with civil society groups in Guadalajara, Mexico, to finalize a two-year action plan on implementing the LAC Principle 10 Regional Declaration. If attendees come up with a strong plan, several LAC countries will come closer to adopting a plan for improving environmental justice and public participation rights across the region.
Across the Caribbean, national economies are heavily dependent on coastal ecosystem services. Coral reefs, mangroves, and other coastal ecosystems provide fish habitat, attract tourists, and protect shorelines from storm damage. However, coastal habitats continue to degrade
Coral reefs provide a diverse array of goods and services to the people and economy of Jamaica. They help to build and protect Jamaica’s beautiful white sand beaches, which attract tourists from around the world.
A new economic valuation shows what Jamaica’s economy stands to lose if its coral reefs decline further.
Coral reefs provide significant value to the Jamaican economy, including tourism, fisheries and shoreline protection, according to new analysis released today.
Coastal and marine ecosystems provide many valuable services to the people and economy of the Dominican Republic. At first glance, these benefits can be difficult to see.
In Latin America the BOP market is $509 billion and includes 360 million people, 70 percent of the population in the 21 countries surveyed.
Coral reefs provide many benefits, sometimes called ecosystem goods and services, which are of high value and critical importance to local and national economies in the Caribbean.