About the Program
The Institute of the Americas’ Environment & Climate Change Program (EC2) strives to catalyze climate leadership amongst the private sector and local/regional governments in the Americas, to promote sustainable growth, tackle climate change and minimize environmental impacts in the region with the goal of protecting its rich marine and land-based natural capital.
In an effort to expand its programmatic work focused on marine and coastal policy issues related to Mexico, the Institute has recently integrated the
University of California’s former Gulf of California Marine Program (GCMP) as an integral part of its EC2 program.
The Institute is also partnering with the UC San Diego’s Center for U.S-Mexico Studies, the Tecnológico de Monterrey in México, and the Brookings Institution, in a U.S-Mexico Climate Change Working Group focused on examining potential areas of binational collaboration between the United States and Mexico on the climate change front.
Goals and Objectives
Expand Sustainability Leadership
Expand the sustainability leadership capacity across the Americas by educating, informing and empowering local/provincial-state governments and companies in the areas of sustainable financing, ESG competitiveness, renewable energy and climate resiliency.
Develop Public Programs & Interdisciplinary Research
Develop public programs and undertake inter-disciplinary research leveraging the collective expertise of practitioners in business, government, civil society and academia to focus on emerging environmental and climate change issues facing the region, with a focus on environment and business, marine and coastal eco-systems, the energy transition, renewable energy and climate change resiliency.
Share Knowledge on Emerging Trends
Share knowledge on emerging trends, innovations, solutions and best practices from around the world to help communities across the Americas better respond to emerging environmental and climate change challenges.
Facilitate Collaboration and Dialogue
Facilitate collaboration and dialogue among key private, public and nonprofit stakeholders through public programs focused on the region’s emerging environmental and climate change challenges.
Business & Environment
Tackling environmental impacts and transitioning towards a sustainable, circular and resilient economy, Latin America & the Caribbean will need to galvanize the private sector into action, as governments cannot undertake the task alone. Large amounts of financing and technical capacities are needed, after all, for this daunting task.
Marine & Coastal Ecosystems
According to the UN Environmental Program, Latin America and the Caribbean have the greatest biological diversity on the planet with over 60% of global terrestrial life, and diverse freshwater and marine species. In spite of the region’s rich biodiversity and natural capital, its eco-systems are at risk due to growing urbanization, industrial pollution (including spills from urban development, the oil sector and mining), illegal logging and clear cutting of rainforests and unsustainable fishing practices. In fact, from 1970 to 2016, the region’s biodiversity has plummeted by 94% according to a recent report published by the World Wildlife Fund and the Zoological Society of London.
Beyond the immediate environmental threats across Latin America & the Caribbean, cities across the region are now more susceptible to frequent flooding, droughts, wildfires, and other extreme climate-induced events, including severe hurricanes, as well as biodiversity and habitat loss. In the case of the recent forest fires that swept across Bolivia and Brazil late last year, there is already evidence that they disrupted rainfall distribution across South America’s grain and beef producing regions for years to come.
Las Californias Blue Carbon Initiative
Special Programmatic Initiative
The Gulf of California Marine Program
The Institute of the Americas’ Gulf of California Marine Program (GCMP) works on expanding its research and programming on emerging coastal and marine policy issues of importance to Mexico, including fisheries management, impacts of land-based and seaborne pollution on coastal and marine ecosystems, marine biodiversity conservation, and blue carbon sequestration. The GCMP works closely with the Aburto Lab at UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the Ezcurra Lab at UC Riverside, and the Centro para la Biodiversidad Marina y la Conservación (CBMC) in La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico.
See additional details here.
The emergence of Smart Cities in Latin America reflects a dynamic shift driven by technological innovation to address urban challenges such as population growth, infrastructure demands, and environmental issues. While these initiatives promise transformative impacts on various aspects of urban life, it’s crucial to recognize the region’s contrasting realities, characterized by vibrant cultural centers alongside deep-seated social inequalities.
As 2023 wrapped up, IOA’s EC2 (tiny but mighty) team was spread across the world to cover the many relevant climate-related events that interest us. GCMP’s director, Catalina, was covering the largest book fair in the Western Hemisphere—FIL Guadalajara—promoting science literacy and communication.
The EC2 team was extremely busy these past 60 days. We launched a new sustainable shipping initiative, kicked off the work of Cities Forward with city representatives from all 24 participating LAC-US cities in Mexico, and held our 2-day Loreto 2050 workshop with community stakeholders in this locality in Baja California Sur…