Panama presents a national strategy for electric mobility to reduce emissions from transport

The strategy proposes targets to increase the adoption of electric vehicles in the country by 2030. Measures to accelerate the transition to electric mobility will contribute to compliance with the climate commitments of Panama in the Paris Agreement.

Panama, June 13, 2019. The National Energy Secretariat (SNE) and the Ministry of Environment (MiAmbiente) of Panama today presented the National Electric Mobility Strategy, an initiative to promote low-emission transportation and contribute to compliance with Panama’s climate commitments in the Paris Agreement.

The strategy proposes measures in four fundamental areas - governance, regulations, strategic sectors and education, as well as the creation of a legal framework that discourages the use of fossil fuel vehicles and stimulates the introduction of electric vehicles in the market for private and public transportation (selective or mass).

If the stipulations in this national road map are met, conditions would be enabled to reach the following targets in the year 2030:

  • 10-20% of private vehicles will be electric.
  • 25-40% of private vehicles sold that year will be electric.
  • 15-35% of buses will be electric.
  • 25-50% of public fleet vehicles will be electric.

At the request of MiAmbiente and SNE, UN Environment and the Panamanian Committee of the World Energy Council (WEC Panama) coordinated the preparation of the document through a series of workshops, meetings and consultations with the main stakeholders of the urban mobility sector and the energy sector to achieve consensus on a product that allows a harmonious and convenient transition to electric mobility.

The document contemplates the need to develop infrastructure, commercialisation and operation conditions necessary for electric mobility, and the creation of financial mechanisms that sustainably ensure this process. In turn, it will help the country to report progress on climate action and increase the ambition of its commitments in the new rounds of negotiations for compliance with the Paris Agreement.

Electric transport, as such, requires a gradual and planned implementation, explained the National Secretary of Energy, Dr. Víctor Urrutia. In turn, he added that “its implementation demands a lot of coordination in the short term, to achieve the proposed goals by 2030, with the accompaniment of adequate public transport systems, clear environmental policies, accessible costs for the user, regulation and electrical infrastructure in the country”.

“With this new strategy, Panama is taking concrete measures to accelerate the transition to electric mobility, which is essential for cleaning the air we breathe and reducing the emissions that cause global warming. We hope that the application will be successful and that it will help the country increase the ambition of its climate commitments”, said the Regional Director of UN Environment in Latin America and the Caribbean, Leo Heileman.

Erick Rodríguez, Director of Climate Change Manager said, "The transport sector represents a critical sector for meeting the goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Panama. Therefore, the implementation of a National Electric Mobility Strategy for the country helps us define a strategic direction and implement the actions and milestones to achieve a massive adoption of this technology. The strategy also aims to provide a signal to the market and climate financing about the priorities and needs of Panama in this regard. "

Jamilette Guerrero, President of the Panamanian Committee of the World Energy Council, stressed that “with the ratification of the Paris Agreement, Panama acquired the commitment to provide mitigation measures to reduce vulnerability to climate change, contributing to sustainable development. The Electric Mobility Strategy promotes the technology that will allow this commitment to be achieved, since it reduces carbon emissions and therefore improves air quality. The Strategy sets clear goals with specific lines of action to achieve the established objectives. The document was structured with the participation of multiple national actors concerned about environmental sustainability”.

According to UN Environment estimates, if the entire fleet of buses and taxis in Panama City were replaced by electric vehicles, they would save almost $500 million in fuel by 2030 and avoid emissions of 8.5 million equivalent tons of carbon dioxide (CO2eq). In addition, it would help prevent the premature death of more than 400 people due to respiratory diseases associated with air quality.

The process for the preparation of this document, which began in August 2018, was based on a standardised methodology created by UN Environment through its MOVE platform, an initiative funded by the EUROCLIMA+ Programme of the European Union. This methodology is being replicated in other countries of the region, such as Argentina, Colombia and Paraguay.

Actors from the public and private sectors at the national level participated in the discussions that shaped this strategy, among which the following stand out: the Panama Canal Authority (ACP), the Automobile Distribution Association of Panama (ADAP), the Municipality of Panama, MiBus, ENSA, the Technological University of Panama (UTP), the Public Services Authority (ASEP), BYD, ABB Panama, the National Institute of Professional Education and Training for Human Development (INADEH), TRASERVI, Banco General, ASSA, Bavarian Motor, Honda Panama, Celsia, the House of Batteries, Naturgy, the Panama Green Building Council (PGBC), Electrobike and the Advanced Higher Technical Institute, among others.


About UN Environment

UN Environment is the leading environmental authority in the world. It provides leadership and encourages joint work in environmental stewardship, inspiring, informing and training nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. UN Environment works with governments, the private sector, civil society and with other United Nations entities and international organisations around the world.


EUROCLIMA+ is a programme funded by the European Union to promote environmentally sustainable and climate-resilient development in 18 Latin American countries, particularly for the benefit of the most vulnerable populations. The Programme is implemented under the synergistic work of seven agencies: Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), French Development Agency (AFD), Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Expertise France (EF), International and Ibero-American Foundation for Administration and Public Policies (FIIAPP), German Society for International Development Cooperation (GIZ), and UN Environment.