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April 3, 2023

Virginia Burkett, Chief Scientist for Climate and Land Use Change, Office of International Programs, gave the opening keynote presentation at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate's National Adaptation Plans Expo in Santiago, Chile, on March 27, 2023.

Dr. Burkett presented on an Initiative for Enhancing Capacity for Climate Risk Assessment and Catalyzing Partnerships to Inform Decisions in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).

The costly impacts of climate change on human security and ecosystem services are well documented across nations, cities, and indigenous communities in the Americas. Models of future climate change portend the intensification of water shortages, climate-related disasters (such as hurricanes and floods), losses in biodiversity, threats to human health, human conflict and migration.

In 2021, the Americas Caucus of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) identified climate change as a cross-cutting priority for delivering geospatial data and tools to the twenty nations that are members of AmeriGEO, the regional arm of GEO. The needs expressed by AmeriGEO laid the foundation for a shared vision of partnerships among Caribbean, Latin American, and North American countries to enhance capacity for climate risk and vulnerability assessments that support local and regional decision-making.

To address the need, AmeriGEO along with its partners are developing the Latin America and Caribbean Initiative (LACI), a project grounded in co-development with a focus on partnership building, peer-to-peer knowledge transfer, and data synthesis and analysis. Representatives of 14 countries* have worked together since 2021 to develop strategies to access data and develop tools that are urgently needed for climate adaptation.

LACI pilot activities are envisioned as 1- to 2-year collaborative efforts that will emphasize sustainability and scalability over time. The planned activities will elevate innovations that are already occurring in the region. Four task teams have been established to further co-design pilot projects that deliver on the goals of this strategy.

The LACI Partnership is a collaborative effort of AmeriGEO, the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), the U.S Group on Earth Observations (USGEO), the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI), and other regional partners.


*Countries represented (as of October 2022)

  • Argentina
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Jamaica
  • Mexico
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Uruguay
  • USA

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