Over the last 20 years, Central American countries have made social and economic advances, including improved literacy rates, reduced infant and maternal mortality, increased trade, and generally, a succession of free and fair elections and peaceful government transitions. Despite these gains, challenges that hinder economic and social development remain. Through its Central America and Mexico (CAM) Regional Program, USAID works with the governments of the region, the private sector, and local organizations to address regional challenges to economic prosperity, governance and security, and environment and health.
USAID works with the private sector and governments to help expand regional trade to create jobs and economic opportunities. Activities help businesses to formally comply with international best practices to increase productivity, livelihoods and jobs. Programs promote regional integration and trade facilitation by reducing time and cost of trading across borders to achieve greater trade competitiveness in the region. USAID activities to help integrate persons who have migrated to other countries in the region and to reintegrate returned migrants in their home country contribute to economic opportunities in communities through job and entrepreneurship training.
CITIZEN SECURITY AND DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE
USAID programming increases regional coordination and collaboration on effective citizen security strategies through data dissemination and sharing of information and best approaches between governments. Activities strengthen protection of human rights by working with civil society and media to support legal analysis and awareness campaigns and coordinated responses to human rights violations. Regional programming fosters collaboration between entities working on anti-corruption and improving democratic governance. USAID assists returned migrants with immediate needs and for safe and dignified reintegration, and works closely with border authorities to improve the reception processes.
ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH
USAID develops regional climate data systems to combat the effects of climate change. Initiatives include regional and country-based plans to mitigate and adapt to climate change. At the local level, USAID provides climate data, analyses, and tools to government officials, agricultural and fishing cooperatives, and civil society groups. Activities help improve natural resource management, including water security and biodiversity conservation and promote legal, environmentally-friendly livelihoods. In health, USAID strengthens the surveillance, coordination, and response of governments to prevent, prepare for, and respond to pandemics in the region. USAID supports testing, prevention, and treatment for HIV/AIDS.
USAID addresses humanitarian needs both in disaster response and in disaster preparedness. USAID provides psychosocial support, learning and recreational opportunities, and case management and referral services for women, children, and other groups facing heightened risk of exploitation, gender-based violence, and other forms of abuse across Northern Central America (NCA). Programs also focus on child protection activities, including coordination, advocacy, and response efforts. In early recovery, risk reduction, and resilience activities, USAID funds activities to strengthen community and national preparedness and response capacity (disaster risk reduction) for natural disasters across the region.
CENTRAL AMERICA AND MEXICO REGIONAL PROJECTS
Integrated Responses on Migration from Central America ($57.7 million) —Provides services to help returning migrants reintegrate into local communities, and to alert the public on the risks of irregular migration.
Regional Coastal Biodiversity ($13.4 million) — Contributes to local economic development and the generation of income based on best natural resource management practices to reduce the threats to key ecosystems in three border sites in Central America.
Trade Facilitation and Border Management Project ($17.5 million) - Contributes to broad-based economic growth by enhancing regional integration and improving trade facilitation.
Upper Lempa Transboundary Water Resource Management Project ($12 million) - Supports transboundary and national institutions to effectively manage water resources and water security risks while conserving the environment.
Access to Credit - Increases credit availability for MSMEs through over $52 million in USG-backed loan guarantees in partnership with local banks including, Banco de America Central, Promérica, Banco Azul, and La Fise.
InfoSegura ($31 million) —Strengthens evidence-based policy making and increases regional coordination and collaboration on effective citizen security strategies.
Regional Human Rights and Democracy ($39.4 million) —The project focuses on protecting human rights for the most vulnerable populations, resulting from internal displacement and irregular migration and strengthens government response to this regional phenomenon.
SERVIR ($1.2 million) Helps institutions efficiently manage climatic information for development sectors, including agriculture and food security, water, health, and environmental management.
Holistic prevention and response services to support people affected by forced displacement ($6.5 million) — Supports the recovery of people in need in NCA through protection risk mitigation, response services, and multi-purpose cash assistance.
Provision of humanitarian assistance to populations affected by, or at risk of, violence and displacement ($9.67 million) — Ensures that people in NCA have reduced exposure to protection risks, improved health service coverage, increased knowledge on and access to specialized services, increased capacity to exercise their rights, and situation-specific support tailored to improve livelihood opportunities.
EMPOWER ($1 million) — Supports capacity building for local humanitarian organizations, including the provision of rapid response funds and disaster risk reduction (DRR) small grants in select countries across the region.
Regional Disaster Assistance Program ($1.6 million) — Provides training and technical assistance to national and local emergency responders to help improve preparedness and response to disasters across the Region.
Capacity Strengthening of the Civil Protection National Systems ($1.3 million) —Strengthens the disaster response capacities of Civil Protection and Comprehensive Disaster Risk Management Governing Bodies and their National Systems across the LAC region, with a focus on urban risk.