BOLDLY SUSTAINABLE

Panama puts sustainability at the heart of its government’s actions, whether in the economic, diplomatic, or energy spaces. Through steadfast conservation commitments on land and at sea, as well as a bold energy transition plan, Panama has become one of three carbon negative countries in the world. Panama is committed to fostering both a blue and green economy through sustainable use of ocean resources, increased use of clean energy, ecological programs to preserve wildlife habitat and environmental regulations to reduce plastic waste and marine pollution and foster eco-tourism and sustainable fishing.

A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE FOR THE NEXT GENERATION

Despite being a service- and trade-oriented country, Panama is one of only three carbon negative countries in the world, setting a standard for other developed countries across the globe. Panama has made reducing carbon emissions a top priority and has committed to embedding sustainable practices into everything we do, in line with the transformative changes necessary to drive the future of our socio-economic growth.  

Panama recognizes climate change as a global threat. The consequences of climate change are already a reality for many nations. As a country with unparalleled natural reserves at the intersection of two main oceans, whose economy relies upon clean natural resources for its existence, Panama has taken the lead in addressing climate change, retooling our economy to reduce carbon emissions and undertaking bold conservation initiatives to protect our natural resources.

A GREEN AND BLUE ECONOMY

Avoiding the worst impacts of climate change means reimagining economies around green energy, both on land and at sea. A green economy incentivizes low carbon emissions, uses resources efficiently and leaves no one behind.

2016

  • 64.2% renewable
  • 35.8% thermal (june 2016)
  • 337.5% increase of solar energy sources

2019

  • More than US$2.000 million in government investment
  • Diversification of the energy matrix

2050

  • 70% renewable sources
  • Emphasis on solar and wind energy
  • 5,153 MW installed capacity

Panama has an ambitious but practical plan to move our economy away from fossil fuels and into clean energy, using 70% renewable energy sources by 2050. Panama’s sustainability and conservation initiatives are already well underway. In 2019, Panama became the first Central American country to eliminate plastic bags and straws, a major source of pollution which were clogging our waterways and damaging our marine life.  

Moreover, Panama has established a system of incentives to foster the production of energy from renewable sources, all while creating jobs, protecting natural resources and improving our electricity matrix. Among these incentives: companies that invest in new clean energy projects in Panama can be eligible for a tax incentive of up to 25%, and energy plants receive tax benefits according to their carbon reduction level. 

These initiatives, bringing together the power of the private and public sectors, have already put Panama on the path to a green economy. 

A HAVEN FOR BIODIVERSITY

WILDLIFE

Panama is proud to be home to some of the most biodiverse environments and most-studied tropical forests on earth. Due to our unique geographic location bridging two continents, we have a greater number of vertebrate animals than any other country in Central America or the Caribbean, a greater number of bird species than the United States and Canada together, and 21 times more plant species per square kilometer than Brazil.

MARINE LIFE

Our seas also contain a myriad of exotic tropical fish, whales, dolphins, crocodiles, turtles and more. Our oceans are among the best places in the world for humpback whale watching – every year, approximately 2,000 cetaceans journey along Panama’s coasts in one of the longest mammal migrations, a journey of 10,000 km from the Antarctic to the warm tropical waters of Panama.

ECO-TOURISM

Due to our wealth of biodiversity, we are host to the Smithsonian Tropical Research Center, world’s most comprehensive specialized library for tropical sciences which conducts research into the history and future of tropical ecosystems and is the only Smithsonian outpost outside the United States. We also welcome visitors to Panama in our growing eco-tourism sector.

Panama has 18 national parks, and 30% of the country, or 2 million acres, is either designated as national parks, tropical forest reserve or wildlife refuges. When done responsibly, eco-tourism provides a sustainable way to host visitors from around the world and share Panama’s natural beauty.

CLEAN ENERGY

Fostering clean energy is a central pillar to Panama’s climate plan. In our National Energy Plan, Panama will run on 70% renewable resources by 2050.

Panama provides tax and import duty exemptions and incentives for the construction, operation and maintenance of clean energy projects. For instance, wind energy equipment manufacturers can receive a 15-year exemption on all taxes in Panama. Incentives like these, combined with a price on carbon, are transforming Panama into a hub for clean energy innovation. Already, emissions from Panama’s energy sector are projected to decline by at least 11.5% by 2030 and 24% by 2050.

In addition to incentivizing increases in clean energy and decreases in carbon emissions, Panama is also working to implement carbon capture capabilities, both on land and at sea. We have committed to restoring 50,000 hectares of forest land nationally, which will contribute to the absorption of approximately 2.6 million tons of CO2 by 2050. We are also providing reinforced legal and environmental protections to sea grasses and coral reefs, thereby increasing carbon sinks in our waters.

 

CARBON FOOTPRINT

Panama is one of only three carbon negative countries in the word. As part of Panama’s continued efforts to reduce its national carbon footprint, our government has launched the National Reduce Your Footprint Program. The program encourages and facilitates the reduction of carbon emissions by both public and private organizations, including government ministries, the Panama Canal and organizations across economic sectors. The program will create a national system for monitoring, evaluating and reporting emissions, and will include sustainability criteria in public procurement processes. Panama has collaborated with the UN’s Collaborative Instruments for Ambitious Climate Action (CiACA) in the creation of tools like this one to track carbon emissions, with the goal of using this data to implement a carbon pricing model.

The Panama Canal is aiming to become carbon neutral by 2030. It has already reduced CO2 emissions by more than 13 million tons in 2020 alone when compared with alternative routes. Through its Green Route Strategy, the waterway also provides incentives to customers for their environmental stewardship.

Conserving our land and sea resources

As a home to biodiverse ecosystems, Panama takes its responsibility to protect and conserve its natural beauty very seriously. Panama has already extended protections to at least 30% of its land and sea territory, nearly a decade ahead of schedule.

By creating national parks on land and designating more than 46 marine protected areas, Panama is both ensuring the protection of its ecosystems and conserving carbon sinks that have been vital to its carbon negative status. Just this year, Panama approved an innovative policy giving legal rights to nature, protecting its right to exist, persist, regenerate, and be restored.

In addition, Panama has committed to restoring 50,000 hectares of forest nationally, which will contribute to the removal of approximately 2.6 million tons of CO2 from the atmosphere by 2050. 

International cooperation

Even as countries like Panama take action to reduce their carbon emissions, the truth is that climate change is a global problem which cannot be mitigated by individual countries. Global crises require global solutions, which is why Panama has worked to inspire climate action internationally.

In 2021, for example, Panama launched a Carbon Negative Alliance with Bhutan and Suriname to share best practices with other countries and advocate for larger global climate ambition. 

In addition, Panama partnered with Costa Rica, Colombia, and Ecuador in 2021 to expand the Eastern Tropical Marine Corridor, creating the largest collective marine protected area in the world and preserving vital migratory routes for biodiverse marine species. 

We ❤️ the SDG’s

Panama has partnered with the UN on a series of conservation and climate initiatives, including the conservation of marine wildlife in the Caribbean, the development of a national policy for the sustainable use of coastal resources, the reduction of single-use plastics pollution in marine environments, the creation of a national wetlands policy and the adaptation of Panama’s fishing and tourism industries to climate change.

We are one of the first Latin America countries working to develop a national action plan on litter in collaboration with the UN and over 40 impacted organizations.

In addition, in 2020, Panama updated its UN Nationally Determined Contributions with new targets across 29 sectors, including marine and coastal systems. Panama’s new goals will strengthen its management of marine and coastal systems and integrate blue carbon into the national inventory of greenhouse gases by 2022.