For indigenous people in Panama, the rainforest where they live is not only their habitat but also their spiritual home, and their link to nature and their ancestors. The forest holds part of their essence and their identity.
Fermín Gómez, a 53-year-old Panamanian fisherman, pushes off in his boat, the “Tres Hermanas,” every morning at 06:00 hours to fish in the waters off Taboga island. Five hours later he returns to shore.
With the expansion of the canal, Panama hopes to see its share of global maritime trade rise threefold. And many Panamanians hope the mega-engineering project will reduce social inequalities in a country where development is moving ahead at two different speeds.
Panama is the first Latin American country to have adopted a national strategy to combat what is known as hidden hunger, with a plan aimed at eliminating micronutrient deficiencies among the most vulnerable segments of the population by means of biofortification of food crops.
A team of scientists who analysed the richness of plant species around the world concluded that the ecosystems in need of immediate protection in order to meet the 2020 conservation goals set by the Convention on Biological Diversity are largely concentrated in Latin America.
Issues related to the ownership of forest carbon and to prior consultation mechanisms threaten to derail plans for the Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation of Forests (REDD+) in some countries of Latin America, according to experts.