Cooperation Platform for Northern Latin America (COPLAN)

Project description

Title: Cooperation Platform for Northern Latin America (COPLAN)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Central America: offices in Costa Rica, Guatemala and Mexico
Lead executing agency: German-Costa Rican Chamber of Industry and Commerce
Overall term: 2012 to 2015

Context

Although key economic players in Mexico and Central America have recognised the business potential of climate and environmental technologies, these technologies are still not generally available in this region. The governments of these countries acknowledge the importance of the private sector and its dependencies as motors of development for meeting the challenges of environmental and climate protection. However, there are not enough professional consultants and project developers equipped to take advantage of these opportunities . The national authorities for economic promotion in the region are still largely unfamiliar with environmental and climate technology. The know-how for gaining a foothold in European markets is lacking as well. Nor can the existing training programmes satisfy the rising demand for experts with these ‘green skills’.

Objective

The conditions for technical cooperation in Mexico and the Central American countries have improved. Such cooperation will contribute to sustainable economic development and environmental and climate protection in this region.

Approach

The project strengthens and expands the Cooperation Platform for Northern Latin America (COPLAN), thus improving cooperation among economic development organisations, training institutes, and the institutions of the German, Mexican and Central American private sectors. COPLAN seeks to facilitate access to environmental and climate technologies on international markets and to promote the dissemination of these technologies. Skills related to sustainability in the field of environmental and climate protection are to be enhanced in the private sectors of the countries in the region.

Promotion of environmental and climate technologies: There is great growth potential for the use of environmental and climate technologies in the Mexican and Central American productive sector, for instance in light industry, agroindustry and the service sector (tourism). Technologies for renewable energy, energy efficiency, wastewater treatment, waste management and resource efficiency play a pivotal role in these sectors.

To improve access to the environmental and climate technologies available on international markets, COPLAN supports trade associations and other institutions that promote foreign trade and investment. COPLAN strengthens their environmental and climate technology competencies and provides business consulting on accessing international markets. COPLAN supports pilot measures on the introduction of environmental technologies, organises dialogues between businesses and actors in the target countries, and arranges for delegations to visit Germany to experience good practices in operation at first hand and to study specific technological solutions. The positive impact on employment in the region is stressed, including the preservation of existing jobs and the potential for creating new, "green" employment. COPLAN promotes the exchange of experience and communication among the countries of the region, thus fostering the formation of an internal market among them. Such an internal market would make the smaller countries more attractive for investment and the establishment of businesses there.

Training: There is a strong demand for specialists in the field of environmental and climate technology, due not least to the interest of foreign investors. The range of training currently on offer does not meet this demand. In most of the region's countries, the private sector is not sufficiently and consistently involved in the development of framework conditions for the training system, that is, with qualification standards such as accreditation, monitoring and certification. In response, COPLAN has undertaken to advise training institutions, so that they can adjust their syllabuses to the challenges of the day. COPLAN supports the development and introduction of demand-oriented modular training in the field of environmental and climate technology. It promotes trainer training as well.