Honduras—ProParque; Gobernanza en Ecosistemas, Medios de Vida, y Agua (GEMA)

Client: U.S. Agency for International Development

Duration: 2016-2021

Region: Latin America and the Caribbean

Country: Honduras

Solutions: Environment and Energy

Honduras and its Bay Islands offer unparalleled natural wonders—stunning coral reefs, mangroves, rainforests, cloud forests, mountain ranges, and an abundance of endemic plant and animal species. However, insufficient environmental protection and unchecked deterioration of natural resources threatens the future of these important and fragile ecosystems. Many of the sustainable business opportunities in tourism and agriculture that could help to preserve the country’s rich biodiversity and provide income for rural populations have yet to be fully developed. In addition, the communities around these valuable ecosystems face significant and growing risks from climate-induced natural disasters.

To help the Honduran government confront these pressing issues, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) launched ProParque in 2011, also implemented by DAI. Over six years, ProParque worked with government stakeholders to strengthen the nation’s protected area management system and promote rural enterprise growth, climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction, and clean energy development.

To build upon these accomplishments, USAID has designed the Gobernanza en Ecosistemas, Medios de Vida, y Agua, or Governance in Ecosystems, Livelihoods, and Water (GEMA) project as a follow-on program to scale up and replicate the successes of ProParque. GEMA is working in western Honduras to further improve natural conservation policies; develop opportunities for inclusive, environmentally sustainable economic growth; and promote a more climate-informed and resilient civil society in Honduras.

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Sample Activities

  • Strengthen local institutions for natural resource management and water governance through capacity building and formation of collaborative alliances.
  • Educate Hondurans about the ability of hydropower to increase their ability to advocate and negotiate. Prepare “Good Practices Guide” and “Lessons Learned in the Socialization Process,” on hydropower projects working with local communities.
  • Promote education and awareness about renewable energy technologies, such as solar panels and improved cook stoves, and provide support to renewable energy microenterprises.
  • Increase conservation-related income in agriculture and tourism by forming public-private partnerships and linking growing enterprises with business development service providers.
  • Strengthen disaster response institutions across multiple levels and increase the involvement of women in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation decision-making.

Select Results

  • Twenty-one hydroprojects are in process.
  • From 2011–2016, ProParque generated $13.3 million in sales for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), creating more than 5,100 new jobs.
  • ProParque trained approximately 4,000 members of local and municipal emergency committees in disaster risk reduction and response.
  • Through ProParque, more than 4,400 producers and MSMEs received technical assistance in green certifications, new technologies, and access to new markets.
  • ProParque trained 111 micro entrepreneurs on improving rural access to clean and renewable energy, in turn benefiting 25,000 individuals with clean cook stoves, solar panels, and bio-digesters.
  • ProParque built the capacity of local chambers of tourism and member businesses to market new tourism products and packages, such as birdwatching and cultural events.
  • ProParque worked with the Institute for Conservation and Forestry and the Honduran Tourism Institute to adopt a national protected areas tourism strategy and a national bird watching tourism strategy, as well as policies and norms for commercial services in protected areas.
  • ProParque supported the protection of more than 350,000 hectares through improved natural resource management and more effective biodiversity conservation.
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