Although the energy situation in Central America, the Caribbean, and Mexico is not uniform across all the countries in the region, many of them face some common issues and challenges. With some exceptions, nearly all countries in Central America and the Caribbean are net oil and fossil fuel importers, putting them in an uncertain position regarding energy security. Rural areas consume high levels of wood for cooking (especially in Central America). There is a lack of technical expertise, regulations, and policies to encourage renewable energies as a substitute for fossil fuels. Around 16 million people in the region have limited or no access to electricity services and, in general, the countries are highly vulnerable to natural disasters and climate change.
To launch its engagement programme in Central America, the Caribbean and Mexico, the Smart
Villages Initiative co-organised a workshop in the Dominican Republic in November 2016 with
the National Academy of Sciences of the Dominican Republic. The aim of the workshop was to
promote discussion between key stakeholders on accelerating the provision of cleaner energy
services in rural communities in the region. The workshop aimed to facilitate analysis of renewable energy systems and energy efficiency measures as drivers for development in rural communities, as well as to evaluate ways to increase resilience to natural disasters in countries of Central America, the Caribbean and Mexico. More than 40 experts from 16 countries in the region came together to discuss the challenges and opportunities.