Immerse Yourself in the Forest! Experience the Andean forests in virtual reality XV Meeting on Human Rights: How can we change in the face of climate change?

Swiss Cooperation (SDC) and its Bosques Andinos programme participated in the Opening Ceremony, and through its interactive booth: Immerse Yourself in the Forest

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There is a growing consensus on the human rights implications of climate change. Today we know that the impacts of climate variations on the planet have a direct and indirect impact on people’s well-being: on health, the environment, food, housing and other aspects that make up a life with dignity. It is therefore important to know the extent of the effects of climate change on the well-being of this and future generations, especially in terms of the full enjoyment of several human rights.

As highlighted in the Paris Agreement on Climate Change in 2015, forests and trees play a critical role in determining the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Acting as carbon sinks, they absorb the equivalent of approximately 2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide each year, but at the same time generate environmental goods and services that are strategic for life. The public and civil society organisations representing rights holders and stakeholders play an essential role in all societies to safeguard civic space in general. Defending forests necessarily involves encouraging, knowing the forests, strengthening, listening and learning in dialogue with these peoples in order to join in the defence of their territorial human rights.

Swiss Cooperation (SDC), through its Bosques Andinos (Andean Forests) Programme, felt it important to participate in the XV Meeting on Human Rights, organised by the Institute for Democracy and Human Rights of the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (IDEHPUCP), the Institute for Natural Sciences, Territory and Renewable Energies (INTE-PUCP) and Clima de Cambios.

Inaugural Conference: Around the World, How Can We Change in the Face of Climate Change?

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The inaugural committee was chaired by the president of the Peruvian Society of Environmental Law (SPDA), Jorge Caillaux. Elizabeth Salmón, executive director of IDEHPUCP, and Martín Jaggi, SDC’s chief of cooperation in the Andes, commented on the first keynote speech of the meeting.

Caillaux focused on highlighting short- and medium-term commitments among various public and private stakeholders to carry out adaptation and mitigation actions, with which to face this global phenomenon with equality, prioritising the interests of the most vulnerable communities. It also recognised the disruptive energy of young people as an essential factor in the fight against climate change, and stressed the need for a proactive role on the part of all stakeholders involved in this work. “Peru has to anticipate and consolidate policies that allow us to face the future of the climate crisis,” he said.

For his part, the SDC’s head of cooperation, Martin Jaggi, agreed with the keynote speaker on the lack of awareness of the urgency of addressing climate change, especially since its effects widely impact on the most vulnerable population. Jaggi highlighted Peru’s important progress within the framework of the Climate Change Law, and the importance of developing concerted efforts for the conservation and sustainable management of natural resources, taking urgent measures to address climate change.

He mentioned that it is urgent to understand and take action to conserve natural resources and address the loss of these ecosystems, which today with climate change are even more vulnerable to the pressure and growth of cities. He emphasized that “within the framework of the Andean Forests Programme, we have brought the Andean Forest to the PUCP, and we invite you to immerse yourself in it! We hope that this virtual visit will awaken the attention needed by these ecosystems which are both forgotten, and at the same time so important and strategic for life in the Andes, the coast and the Amazon,” he said.

Journey to the interior of the Andean Forests

The Andean Forests interactive booth “Immerse Yourself in the Forest” used virtual reality to allow those who took part to get to know the Andean forests, their ecosystem, biodiversity and the vulnerability that the Andean population suffers. The booth was open 3-7 June, so that PUCP students could immerse themselves in the Andean ecosystems of Apurímac.

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Lucía Ruiz, Minister of the Environment, approached the Bosques Andinos interactive booth and said that this virtual tool would help to bring the Andean forests closer to the community, and especially in this case, to young people (students of the PUCP), the ones who in the future would take on the baton of the actions that we have begun.

Students and the interactive Andean forests.

During the week, several PUCP students from different faculties approached the booth to experience virtual reality and gave us their feedback for improving the web. On Thursday, Professor Sandro Makowsky took his students from the Ecology course of General Arts Studies to the interactive booth so that the students could visualise and learn more about the Andean forests

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The experience allowed them to discover and feel the wonders of these ecosystems, and to understand why their protection and conservation is important and necessary in a context of climate change.  The platform offers a unique perspective to experience the dynamism of these fundamental and sensitive forests of the Andes

Andean Forests

This is a multimedia exhibition that uses the elements of the new immersion technology to recreate the sensations that the Andean forests evoke when one is in the middle of them. The experience offered by this platform focuses on interactive virtual reality views and 360 degrees to recreate fascinating journeys into the heart of mountain ecosystems.

This project was created by the association Conversations du Monde, led by the award-winning photographer Nicolas Villaume with technical and financial support from the Andean Forests Programme of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), facilitated by HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation and CONDESAN.

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Useful Links:
Andean Forests Project, project file, Swiss Embassy, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC
Web Andean Forests project
Web Andean Forests multimedia exhibition

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La Agencia Suiza para el Desarrollo y la Cooperación (COSUDE) es la entidad encargada de la cooperación internacional dentro del Departamento Federal de Asuntos Exteriores (DFAE). Con otras oficinas de la Confederación, la COSUDE es responsable de la coordinación general de la cooperación para el desarrollo y de la cooperación con los Países del Este, así como de los programas de ayuda humanitaria suizos.