Cooperation platform for northern Latin America
Title: Cooperation platform for northern Latin America
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Partner: Consejo Coordinador Empresarial (CCE) (Business Coordinating Council of Mexico)
Overall term: 2012 to 2018
Technologies that protect the environment and mitigate climate change are a core element of sustainable development. While this sector offers enormous opportunities for growth, it is still in its infancy in Mexico and across Central America. In order for it to continue evolving, new knowledge and specialist advisors are needed to identify potentials and support the application of the technologies concerned. Much can be done in the region to optimise the training of experts to handle installation and maintenance in this field.
The conditions for technology cooperation have improved in Mexico and the countries of Central America and contribute to sustainable economic development, environmental protection and climate change mitigation.
The Cooperation Platform for Northern Latin America (COPLAN) is a supraregional, cross-sectoral network that promotes sustainable economic activity in Central America and Mexico. Serving as a platform for transferring climate and environmentally friendly technologies and the expertise needed to use them, the programme fosters close cooperation among international chambers of commerce, key local and German business associations, companies and development cooperation actors. This unique network works with the private sector, policy-makers and civil society to forge sustainable bilateral and regional economic relations and to develop innovation potential relating to climate and the environment.
COPLAN sets out to enhance knowledge about environmental and climate technologies, thereby enabling Mexican and Central American business associations to support their members in making use of the sustainable technologies offered on the international market. In addition, the programme provides preparatory and follow-up support for international trade fairs in Central America and Mexico and for fact-finding trips to Germany by arranging contacts. This allows participating companies and representatives from associations to become acquainted with good practices, available technologies and the relevant suppliers. Successful models are presented throughout the region via the platform and adapted to the respective national conditions. Another core area of activity involves upgrading training courses to satisfy the growing demand for qualified personnel with the requisite green skills. Specialists are needed in a broad range of fields including renewable energy, resource efficiency, wastewater treatment, waste management, industrial environmental protection and sustainable tourism.
Results achieved so far
The Mexican retail association (ANTAD) operates a virtual platform for supermarkets, department stores and suppliers. COPLAN helped ANTAD to develop an environmental application for the internet platform. Around 200 companies have already used it to analyse their environmental performance, specifically their resource efficiency. Based on the results, the participating companies are advised on appropriate training courses which could help them make their products more attractive for potential customers. In a joint project Mexico and Germany are currently transferring the experience thus gained to Honduras and Guatemala.
In May 2014, a Central American-Mexican delegation visited IFAT in Munich, the leading international trade fair for water, sewage, waste and raw materials management. The delegation engaged in around 100 meetings with the exhibiting companies, establishing many contacts, obtaining project ideas and initiating business deals worth millions. In late 2014, COPLAN evaluated the need for environmental and climate technology in Guatemala and Costa Rica, liaised with German companies that offer a suitable range of products, and promoted the exchange of information and lessons learned in both countries. To date, contracts for investments worth over 22 million euros have been concluded as a result of networking initiated within the scope of the programme.
Through a development partnership with the Volkswagen automotive group, COPLAN worked with the German foreign chamber of commerce in Mexico to develop a training course for environmental managers. So far, 70 participants have completed the course and earned a certificate that is recognised in both Mexico and Germany. The training activities supported by the programme have reached over 400 companies to date.