721-i. Central America Capacity Development

Since 2001, the NCEA has been involved in a regional project of the Central American Commission for Environment and Development (CCAD) and IUCN. The objective was to harmonize and strengthen impact assessment systems and capacity development in Guatemala, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. The NCEA has also been involved in a second phase (2006-2008) and contributed extensively to the SEA process for the Association Agreement between Europe and Central America.

Significant details

Started: 2001

Completed: 2008

Process and activities

The following activities were undertaken as part of the first phase of CCAD's and IUCN's regional project (2001-2003):

  • Three 2-day SEA introduction workshops in Guatemala, Costa Rica and Nicaragua;
  • Contributions to meetings of the technical EIA committee for further harmonization of EIA regulations;
  • Contributions for CCAD guidelines on harmonization of EIA systems in the region;
  • Assistance in development of EIA guidelines for cross-boundary aspects in the SIEPAC project;
  • Support in development of a knowledge and learning platform.

In the second phase of this project (2006-2008), the NCEA was again requested to assist. In this phase, the NCEA's activities focused mainly on SEA. They included:

  • Contribution to an SEA train-the-trainers workshop;
  • Support to a pilot SEA for an Association Agreement with the EU;
  • Preparation of meetings of the Regional Working Group carrying out the pilot SEA;
  • Provision of information on case studies, methodologies, best practices;
  • Facilitating contacts and supporting negotiations between EU and Central American parties for the Association Agreement;
  • Comments on several documents, ToRs, and sector guides;
  • Presentation of SEA experiences in a case study and on the IAIA conference 2009.

Apart from these regional activities, the NCEA implemented national programmes in some of the countries. In Guatemala, for example, a training session was organized on public participation in EIA and a workshop was given on EIA and SEA in mining.


The NCEA's activities in phase 1 of the project have contributed mainly to political and technical agenda-setting on EIA and analysis of national EIA systems in the region. Moreover, they supported some of the countries in developing or updating a legal system for EIA.

Activities in phase 2 of the project contributed to the development of SEA guidelines for Central America and improved SEA capacity of Environment and Planning Ministries from seven Central American countries. The SEA for the Association Agreement was improved via NCEA's and stakeholders' inputs.

Parties involved

Members of the working group

Technical secretary: Ineke Steinhauer

Further details

Country: Costa Rica; Guatemala; Nicaragua

Last modified: 05 Apr 2019