Call for Applications: Mesoamerican Reef Leadership Program 2014

The Mesoamerican Reef Leadership Program is looking for people who have a commitment to the conservation of the region’s coastal and marine ecosystems to establish a cohort. The thematic focus of this years focus will be Solid Waste Management, special a special emphasis on the Sustainable Materials Management.

To apply, visit and click on “be a leader”, or contact Elisa Lopez Garcia at

Central American countries rank highest in world’s homicide rate

A new report released by the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime brings light to the rampant violence and inequality in Central American countries. The global average homicide rate stands at 6.2 per 100,000 population, but Central America has rates over four times that, making it one of the sub-regions with the highest homicide rates on record. Of the top five countries with the highest murder rates, four of them are in Central America; Guatemala, El Salvador, Belize and Honduras.

UNODC defines homicide as “an unlawful death purposefully inflicted on a person by another person”, not directly related to an armed conflict.

Central America’s rise in homicide levels is mainly caused by the resulting violence related to drug trafficking, organized crime, and the relationship between organized criminal groups and the state. Honduras’ homicide rates ranks highest in the world with a 90.4 per 100,000 population, followed by Belize with a murder rate of 44.7 per 100,000, El Salvador with 41.2 per 100,000, and Guatemala with 39.9 murders per 100,000.

Women are more at risk than men. Intimate partner and family-related homicides disproportionately affect women. As of 2012, 6,900 women are killed by intimate partners and family members in the Americas. Read the rest of this entry »

DPLF works on judicial independence and transparency in Central America and Panama


The Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF) is working hard to monitor and evaluate judicial independence of Central America.

Judicial independence and transparency do not go hand-in-hand in Central America. This is the first conclusion we can draw from the most recent DPLF study: “Law vs Reality. Independence and judicial transparency in Central America and Panama”. The second conclusion is that there is a considerable gap between policy and its effectiveness, which is most notacible in regards to judicial independence: although there is a legal framework to guarantee it, this guarantee is not met in practice. There are various reasons for this, among others, the lack of mechanisms to enforce the rules and the existence of a political culture of disrespect for the law.

This study has an empirical base which affirms the best bases for judicial independence in the region. This research was conducted in the six Central American countries (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama) according to a methodology of indicators and a thematic guide that allowed comparisons with homogenous criteria and showed the persistence of common problems, such as the politicization of the system and the appointment process, and the excessive power of the Supreme Court that threatens internal independence and limits transparency and accountability.

One of the main contributions of this study is that it breaks down the elements that make up both external and internal judicial independence, and identifies – for each country –the barriers that limit their full capacity.

Read the full report here. (comparative report, conlcusions, recommendations and methodologies)

Read the rest of this entry »

About the blog:
This blog was created to support the Central America Network and encourage dialogue around relevant research, news and poverty alleviation efforts in the region.
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