Capital Institute

Solving the Central American Migration Crisis through Regenerative Development

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To learn more about – or provide significant funding to – this project, please contact Lever for Change.

Project Summary

The Earth is in planetary overshoot and collapse. The conditions required for individuals and societies to develop and thrive are no longer sustained by the planet’s biophysical processes. This situation is exemplified by the migration crisis in Central America, driving increasing numbers of families to make life-risking journeys in search of better odds for survival. Leveraging our partnerships in essential biological corridors in the region, we propose a whole-system transdisciplinary approach that combines proven frameworks of best practices in ecological restoration in conjunction with meeting the socio-economic needs of communities that depend on a functional environment. Our solution is designed to effectively address a complex systemic failure that risks driving millions to emigrate from the Northern Triangle (Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras) and fortifies the resilience of Costa Rica and Panama to be able to cope with the increased immigration through large-scale regenerative development.

Problem Statement

Central America has a long history of unrest. Livelihoods for millions have become critical and mass migrations have concentrated the focus of political and economic discussions. A complex systemic failure of historic development models has triggered these migrations due to political unrest, high criminality and violence, extreme poverty, land degradation and ecosystem collapse, loss of productive soil, failing agriculture, food insecurity, frequent impacts of extreme weather events, global warming, lack of quality education and the lack of clear political leadership associated with high levels of corruption.All of this is intensified in a world dominated by exponential change, where the climate emergency is poised to exacerbate all other social challenges humanity now faces. Structural inequality and poverty make it difficult to achieve the necessary scales of cooperation. Historic patterns of development have degraded lands, removed vital ecosystems, and set the stage for a Mass Extinction Event that threatens our very existence. We are at risk of losing the conditions required for human societies to develop and thrive.Every person at risk of forced displacement from environmental change will benefit from this approach--with estimates of 143 million displaced persons in Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Southeast Asia by 2050 and 3.5 million currently in need of humanitarian aid in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. We are taking an ambitious pioneering approach that strives to work at the scale of converging problems humanity faces.

Solution Overview

Central America, with a high potential for regeneration, offers a unique opportunity for resolving the complex symptoms plaguing the region through practical and implementable solutions integrated into a whole-system framework. We have a proven record of rapid adoption by local stakeholders at small scale. We will accelerate implementation with measurable impact at larger scale to continually improve the regeneration of landscapes and systemic health of local communities. Our pathway to restore ecological balance to the region while safeguarding the long-term livelihoods of communities starts with targeting essential biological corridors over a five-year period, where we intend to build capacity for a broad impact encompassing the following principal components: •Co-creating multidisciplinary solutions with all stakeholders to develop regenerative economies that build resilience at the local level.•Enhancing community participation, especially the capacity of youth, in decision making processes through empowerment and education.•Developing agriculture that allows the optimization of food production through land-use-planning and the recovery of regional agrobiodiversity, linked with local ancestral knowledge, allowing for the recovery of essential biological corridors that sustain biodiversity levels and build resilience to climate change.•Incubating entrepreneurs, cooperatives, and small enterprises, inclusive to women and youth, establishing value chains for sustainable market opportunities.•Deployment of innovative technology for sustainable energy production to rural communities, allowing for youth to identify with local development •Creating a network of networks consolidated by a cutting-edge platform that allows for the exchange and implementation of experiences of best practices, connecting regions in a regenerative economy of well-being.

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Project Funders

  • Stichting DOEN 2017 - 2019
  • Kendeda Fund 2017 - 2019
  • Kalliopeia Foundation 2017 - 2019

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