Support for climate change adaptation (completed)

Project description

Title: Adaption of rural development to climate change (ADAPTATE III)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Guatemala
Lead executing agency: Ministerio de Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (MARN)
Overall term: 2013 to 2021

Performing a climate risk analysis


Guatemala contributes a mere 0.5 per cent to global greenhouse gas emissions. However, due to its geographical location, the country is particularly susceptible to the effects of climate change. Hurricanes and heavy rainfall are now more frequent, and droughts last longer. By 2050, experts predict that the country will lose 30 per cent of its water resources due to rising temperatures.

The effects of climate change are particularly severe in rural regions, with many areas already experiencing water shortages. To make matters worse, 95 per cent of surface water is contaminated, and there are not enough people with the expertise required to manage water supply systems, especially in Guatemala’s rural municipalities. Small farmers are the worst affected. The lack of rainfall reduces their yields, and they do not have the technical or financial resources to mitigate the problem, for instance by creating reservoirs to store rainwater.

Guatemala is already committed to implementing climate change adaptation measures and has established a National Council on Climate Change to oversee the planning and implementation of the National Climate Change Action Plan. Despite this, the pace of implementation is slow, and there is a clear need for more effective coordination between the private sector, civil society, the academic community and the state. Many institutions, including the Ministry of Environment, are understaffed.


With regard to climate change adaptation and rural development, the prescribed action has been taken and the corresponding objectives met. This has been achieved in a coherent manner with due regard for the legal framework and Guatemala’s international obligations.

Urban gardens improve food security.


The programme aims to create a balance between the use and protection of natural resources. To this end, the project supports activities that promote the efficient local use of natural resources, for example protecting against soil erosion in agriculture or setting up small rainwater collection systems.

In addition, the project supports the work of various stakeholders to integrate existing mechanisms, such as those in the Climate Change Action Plan, into the plans of the responsible ministries and to mainstream them at institutional level. This mainly involves supporting the National Council on Climate Change, which coordinates all the stakeholders. One way that the project does this is by strengthening the capacity of municipal administrations and decentralised development councils to plan and prioritise appropriate measures. The intention is for these bodies to incorporate such measures into their budget plans for subsequent implementation by the municipalities. This will primarily benefit those living in rural areas as they will be better prepared for changes in the climate. 

The project also promotes the further development and implementation of services and training courses on climate change adaptation in the fields of agriculture, the environment and risk management. These measures are predominantly aimed at agricultural enterprises, training establishments and government institutions.
There are plans to develop and implement a climate change adaptation monitoring system to facilitate the collection of data on climatic changes and the measures taken in response. This will enable all municipalities in Guatemala to better assess their exposure to risk and take preventive action. 

To ensure that the project has a lasting impact, a climate change adaptation knowledge management system is being created. This will be mainstreamed in the Ministry of Environment and the national planning authority.

A fuel-efficient wood-burning stove

Additional information