Implications: Latin America and the Caribbean

The future of the environment in Latin America and the Caribbean is driven by many internal and external factors that differ across the four scenarios. At the heart of issues such as economic growth, social development and environmental health are the region's internal policies and its unbalanced relationship to its neighbours to the north. An increasingly integrated Western Hemisphere is envisioned in both Markets First and Policy First scenarios. Greater cooperation, but in a less formal setting is expected in Sustainability First. Developments in regional and international trade regimes have both positive and negative effects. The greatly increased trade posited in a world of Markets First opens the door to bigger exports of agricultural and forest products. While these may be beneficial economically, they also put increased pressure on resources. More care is taken to consider social and environmental impacts in both Policy First and Sustainability First.

Internally, evolving governance concerns and the issues of poverty, inequality and urbanization in large part determine environmental developments in the region. Major issues to be confronted by the region include deforestation, water shortages and land degradation. All these issues are explored here, focusing on the themes of land, forests, coastal and marine areas, biodiversity and urban areas. The box explores the possible impacts in the region of a major world recession.