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Progress in Achieving Air Quality, Climate, and Health Goals in the Central American Region

Financed by: Climate & Clean Air Coalition.

Partners: Pan American Health Organization, United Nations Environment Programme, Secretaría Ejecutiva del Consejo de Ministros de Salud y Comisión Centroamericana de Ambiente y Desarrollo del Sistema para la Integración Centroamericana.

Location: Central America and the Dominican Republic.

Year: in process.

In an era where environmental and health challenges take center stage, we're thrilled to share a beacon of hope and progress. This transformative project, initiated under the CCAC 2022 call for transformative action in national policy & planning, showcases the power of collaboration.

The Central American Integration System (SICA) stands as a testament to the strength of cooperation. SICA Member States via the Central American Commission for Environment and Development (CCAD), developed the groundbreaking Regional Climate Change Strategy 2018-2022 (ERCC) and the Regional Environmental Framework Strategy 2021-2025 (ERAM). These strategies are more than just documents – they are blueprints for a brighter, healthier future.

Parallel to this, the Council of Ministers of Health of Central America and the Dominican Republic (COMISCA) developed the Health Agenda for Central America and the Dominican Republic (ASCARD) 2019 -2030. This Agenda prioritizes intersectoral collaboration when addressing the social determination of health, which includes healthy environments as a cross-cutting issue.

Project reference: [NAT-22-001 - Central America - Achieving air quality, climate, and health goals]

Our Mission in Action: Empowered by CCAC, we are launching a comprehensive plan to enhance governance, secure political commitment, and optimize the implementation of strategies crucial for climate change, air quality, and health. A key focus is the modernization and integration of air quality monitoring networks across the SICA region. Our goal? To establish a robust nationwide air quality management system and strengthen regional capacities in assessing and mitigating air pollution health risks. This initiative is pivotal in reducing short-lived climate pollutants, especially in urban centers.

Journey of Progress: Achievements and Future Horizons

Outcome 1: Air Quality and Health Model Legislation

• Developed a foundational legislative framework for air quality, climate change, and health, which is now shaping the air quality and health regional model legislation.

• Conducted a "Train the Trainers" workshop on AirQ+ in October 2023, enhancing local capacities in health impact assessments.

• Upcoming: Countries will assess the health benefits of national air quality standards.

Outcome 2: Regional Air Quality Monitoring Strategy

• Produced a comprehensive report on air quality monitoring systems in the SICA region, laying the groundwork for developing a comprehensive strategy to improve air quality monitoring in the region.

• Upcoming: The comprehensive Air Quality Monitoring Strategy for the SICA region is under review by Member States and will be presented to the Council of Ministers of Health and the Council of Ministers of the Environment..

Outcome 3: Strengthening Institutional and Technical Capacities

• Developed a comprehensive training program to support the implementation of SICA's Integrated Roadmap on Climate Change, Air Quality, and Health, set to launch in 2024.

• Hosted a virtual event on International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies in September 2023 to showcase our progress.

Stakeholders are the heartbeat of this project, actively participating at every step to ensure that outputs are not only impactful but also resonate with the unique needs and capabilities of each region.

Join us on this exhilarating journey as we turn vision into reality, transforming Central America into a beacon of environmental and public health excellence. Together, we're not just changing policies; we're changing lives.

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