Climate Resilience and Food Security in Central America

Food security in Central America is directly influenced by climate variability and, increasingly, by climate change.

Periods of heavy rainfall, for example, can reduce crop yields and destroy critical infrastructure. Enabling proactive approaches to addressing these issues requires knowledge about the underlying factors that enable food systems and communities to absorb climate shocks and stresses before slipping into emergency situations. For food systems and communities to be truly food secure and climate resilient, a better understanding of these underlying factors and ways to monitor how they change over time is required.

This project aimed to improve climate resilience and food security at different scales in three countries: Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. To achieve this goal, it explored the factors that influence the resilience of food systems to climate shocks and stresses, and developed practical indicators to monitor such factors at both the community and national levels. The project also looked at how key government policies and programs affect the climate resilience of food systems. Through this analysis, the project led to the development of a new framework designed to support the analysis of community-level food security in the context of climate shocks and stresses, as well as of resilience of food systems at larger scales.

The project's main outputs were two decision-making support tools designed to enable community members and policy-makers to assess vulnerability and resilience of food systems, develop resilience actions and design indicators to monitor that resilience over time. The tools were developed and tested through an iterative process grounded in practical field applications. IISD undertook this project in partnership with Action Against Hunger, Institute for Social and Environmental Transition (ISET), Regional University Center of the Atlantic Coast (CURLA), and the Faculty of Economic and Business Sciences and the Institute Development and Applied Research–Nitlapán of the Central American University (UCA). The project builds on IISD’s work in developing the Community-based Risk Screening Tool for Adaptation and Livelihoods (CRiSTAL) and other tools to support adaptive policies, such as ADAPTool.

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