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.