Climate change adaptation in Central America: A review of the national policy efforts

L.D. Segura*, A. Van Zeijl-Rozema, P. Martens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review


The latest comparative studies of climate policies reinforce the fundamental importance of employing adaptation planning alongside national development strategies. While these studies are necessary to document and share the knowledge of the practices and experiences undertaken at the national level, documents are still scarce on regions of interest such as Central America. This article scrutinizes the state of adaptation planning through an exhaustive investigation of adaptation policy documents, consisting of National Adaptation Strategies, National Climate Legislation, and National Adaptation Action Plans, which are common in all six Central American countries. The findings reveal a region with an intricate yet progressive trend toward adaptation policies, with each country showing different speeds and qualities of adoption. An increasing learning curve has allowed for the emergence of two generations of adaptation policies with several improved features, including horizontal and vertical coordination, monitoring systems, and the inclusion of heterogeneous instruments to implement these systems. Yet, institutional challenges outside the adaptation realm could hinder the progress attained, due to factors such as political and economic crisis and institutional fragility. Further research into the broader political and governance landscape is needed, focusing on if and how climate policies should address political instability and institutional fragility as vulnerability stressors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-327
Number of pages52
JournalLatin American Policy
Issue number2
Early online date1 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


  • Central America
  • climate change adaptation
  • drivers of climate adaptation
  • governance
  • mainstreaming
  • national adaptation strategies

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