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PROJECT: Institutional strengthening and tools to address climate vulnerability in El Salvador

Project Reference: AALA-0010

El Salvador is the smallest and most densely populated country in Central America, with 69% of its 6 million people living in cities. Natural resources are being degraded from rapid urbanisation and agricultural productivity is being adversely affected as a result; making El Salvador increasingly food-insecure. It is also highly vulnerable to climate change effects which further exacerbates the county’s ability to produce food for its people. Critically reduced vegetation cover leads to unmanageable run-off from unprecedented rainfall, and according to a UNDAC assessment, 90% of the territory is located in areas of high risk to natural disasters.

The economy is, therefore, extremely vulnerable to external shocks that are made worse by the increased occurrence of extreme weather events that has been observed over recent years. For example, the tropical cyclone in 2011 caused an estimated $840 million USD in damages. Climate compatible development and disaster risk reduction is gradually being placed at the forefront of the current presidential agenda in El Salvador. However, institutional capacity to address the challenges of resource scarcity and climate resilience has been severely weakened by recent civil war. Capacity-building in the public sector is a priority for post-conflict reconstruction.

In this project, CDKN supported the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of El Salvador (MARN) to consolidate relevant institutions and to contribute to the implementation of the recently formulated National Climate Change Plan (NCCP).

The project had two main objectives:

  • The integration of low-carbon and climate-resilient considerations into Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) of investment projects. This included a capacity training programme so that key national and subnational stakeholders are able to assess climate-integrated EIAs.
  • Provision of more robust information on vulnerabilities, disaster risk management and climate change resilience options for priority infrastructure in order to help the government of El Salvador create the necessary preventive, preparedness and adaptation measures to strengthen the country’s disaster risk management response and climate resilience.

A preliminary suite of climate-integrated EIA tools have been proposed and key national and subnational institutions and stakeholders have been identified for the training process. Moreover, priority hazards and critical infrastructure (sectors) were defined for the vulnerability and risk analysis research.


CDKN funding: £187,000

CDKN project manager: Gabriela Villamarín (


Image credit: UNISDR

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