Green Recovery Academy opens its doors

Photo: Tobias Buchberger

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that the health of the planet is a central precondition for human well-being. Sustainability has therefore become the guiding principle for post-pandemic recovery efforts worldwide. This goal is also expressed in the Declaration on the COVID-19 Pandemic for Central America and the Dominican Republic published by the Council of Ministers of the Central American Commission for Environment and Development (CCAD), which forms part of the Central American Integration System (SICA). 

Using biological diversity as capital for sustainable development

Among other aspects, the CCAD Declaration underlines the role played by biodiversity as strategic capital both for sustainable development in the region and for managing the consequences of the pandemic. This is a key point of focus for Central America and the Dominican Republic, which harbours seven percent of the world’s species diversity. A green recovery (a sustainable rebuilding of the economy) now offers the chance of creating green jobs and promoting sustainable development strategies. This, in turn, would enable the region to face its most pressing social and ecological challenges.

Green Recovery Academy: IKI supports further training initiative for experts and decision-makers 

The Green Recovery Academy was conceived of International Climate Initiative (IKI) as a way of tackling all of these issues. By supporting capacity building and stimulating regional dialogue between stakeholders, the Green Recovery Academy aims to provide both the knowledge and resources necessary for a post-COVID-19 green recovery in Central America and the Dominican Republic. The fundamental principles of the green recovery will also be taught to the specialists involved in planning, developing and implementing national recovery strategies, action plans and programmes. (See info box for further information.)

From technical knowledge to action plan development

Over the space of two months, over 60 participants from the public and private sector, civil society organisations and research will meet up weekly in virtual sessions to get to grips with the solution strategies for planning and achieving a green recovery. Participants will attend from Belize, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.

The first half of the Academy initiative will focus on teaching the theoretical background – such as how jobs can be created or help offered to small and medium businesses. Following this, participants will then work on developing national action plans for incorporating environmental aspects into recovery strategies for their native countries. 

Public launch of the Green Recovery Academy on 11 August

The series of events started on 11 August with a virtual kick-off meeting. 

The meeting was opened by CCAD Executive Director Jair Urriola Quiróz, whose speech highlighted the socioeconomic prospects created by conservation and climate action. 

Mr Quiróz was followed by Anne-Mareike Vanselow from the ‘United Nations, 2030 Agenda, developing and emerging countries’ unit at the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), who emphasised the role of the Green Recovery Academy as part of the German Government’s continuing commitment to economic and sustainable development in the region. Ms Vanselow expressed the hope that the Academy would encourage participants to launch initiatives in their own countries with the aim of tackling post-pandemic challenges over the medium and long term, and make the most of synergy effects within Central America and the Dominican Republic. 

Anna Wittenborg, SICA Portfolio Manager and Permanent Representative of GIZ in El Salvador, underlined the importance of designing post-pandemic economic recoveries to be focused on climate and environmental aspects. 

Alex Mejia, Director of UNITAR’s Division for People and Social Inclusion, pointed to the importance of regional knowledge sharing and dialogue, and the development of action plans.

After the introductory speeches, participants were then introduced to the topics addressed by the Green Recovery Academy. This was followed by an expert panel, which discussed the innovative tools available for supporting a green recovery. One such tool is the Green Recovery Tracker for Latin America and the Caribbean

The organisations behind the Green Recovery Academy

The Green Recovery Academy was designed by the IKI project "Strategic Environmental Dialogues" and the BMZ project "Protecting biodiversity in Central America and the Dominican Republic through business partnerships" in cooperation with the Central American Commission for Environment and Development (CCAD). The academy is implemented by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).