Lying along the Pacific Ocean and bordered by Guatemala and Honduras, the relatively small country of El Salvador is home to about six million people. El Salvador has an area of 20,740 km2, with important geographical and ecological variations. Approximately 86% of the national territory is ranked as subtropical humid forests, 8% as sub-tropical very humid forests and 4% as tropical humid forest land10. Annual average rainfall fluctuates between 1,525.8 mm and 2,127.2 mm, with an average of 1,823.6 mm. Annual average temperatures range between 24.2oC and 25.9oC, with an average of 24.8oC
Geographically, the country is divided into three distinct regions: the southern coastal belt, the central valley and plateaus, and the northern mountains. Since its civil war ended in 1992, El Salvador’s economy has grown steadily, with per capita income reaching approximately US$7,300 in 2010 (CIA, 2011). The poverty rate has declined from 66 per cent in 1991 to 37.8 per cent in 2009 (USDS, 2011). While agriculture remains a significant portion of El Salvador’s economy (generating 11 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2010), manufacturing (particularly textiles and apparel) and the services sector now generate 23 per cent and 58 per cent of GDP respectively (CIA, 2011). Remittances are also an important source of income (USDS, 2011).
El Salvador, through its government and particularly through the MARN, which is the entity accountable for coordinating the preparation and follow up of an environmental policy, would be committed to establish the mitigation and adaptation to climatic change strategies provided that these help to achieve national priorities and that they foster sustainable domestic development.
The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources is currently working on a National Climate Change Plan that will include: i) the National Action Program on Adaptation (NAPA); ii) the National Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) in the context of the national development priorities; iii) science and technology for adaptation and mitigation; iv) national and local capacity building for adaptation and mitigation; and v) education, public awareness raising and participation of the relevant actors and sectors in the design and implementation of the national public policies related to climate change.
The Project on Capacity building for Stage II adaptation to climate change (Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama) was funded through the GEF Trust Fund and is implemented by UNDP. Central America, Mexico and Cuba serve as the pilot region for elaborating and applying an Adaptation Policy Framework for preparing adaptation strategies, policies and measures. The application of this framework demonstrated how policy for adaptation can be integrated into national sustainable development for at least three human systems: water resources, agriculture and human health. This demonstration project builds upon the Stage I vulnerability and adaptation assessments of the Initial National Communications of the eight participating countries of the region and will prepare them to move onto Stage III Adaptation. The outputs of the project, Stage II adaptation strategies are being used for preparing Second National Communications and to take steps to submit adaptation initiatives to the Special Climate Change Fund and to other financing mechanisms.