New Andean experiences in adaptation solutions

Five new adaptation solutions adopted in the Andes are incorporated into the Adaptation at Altitude Solutions Portal, contributing to the discussion of knowledge and experience with other mountain regions of the world.

Mountain communities tackle climate change by combining ancestral knowledge with new technologies and strategies, with a sustainable development perspective. The Solutions Portal, an initiative of the global Adaptation at Altitude programme, will be a tool for sharing these experiences among the various stakeholders in mountain regions around the world. The Portal is part of the WeADAPT initiative, a platform for the exchange of knowledge, research and practices for climate change adaptation. It contains detailed information on proven adaptation solutions, their application and the results obtained.

There are over 20 solutions already applied in the Andes, which are now joined by these five initiatives from Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela:

  1. Management and Conservation of Wetlands and Grasslands in Venezuela

The grasslands of the Mixteque micro-watershed in Mérida, Venezuela, provide multiple ecosystem services to local communities, including water regulation and supply. However, the expansion of the agricultural frontier and grazing, and the intensive use of agrochemicals and synthetic fertilisers, threaten these services and the way they work. The communities in the area (under the leadership of Ligia Parra and the Association of Environmental Commissioners of the Rangel Municipality, ACAR) have been working to preserve the availability and quality of water, with initiatives that have been strengthened by interventions from other agencies, including the Los Andes University. The most impactful adaptation strategies include participatory hydro-meteorological monitoring, wetland fencing and rotational grazing.

2. Adaptation to Climate Change with Peasant Farmer Communities in the Páramo Corridor, Colombia

The Sumapaz-Chingaza-Guerrero and Cerros Orientales Paramo Corridor, in Colombia’s eastern mountain range, is home to around 20 per cent of the country’s population, possesses great ecosystem and socio-cultural diversity, and supplies water to more than 10 million people. However, the expansion of the agricultural frontier and the development of road, energy, mining, urban and agro-industrial mega-projects are threatening it. The project, implemented by the Bogotá Aqueduct, Sewerage and Sanitation Company, focuses on the participatory care of the grasslands and the improvement of rural livelihoods, through strategies for conservation and ecological restoration, productive reconversion and sustainable land use, socio-environmental management and institutional strengthening.

3. Returning to Traditional-Agroecological Systems in Colombia

This solution is used in the department of Boyacá, Colombia. It preserves and promotes the cultivation and consumption of Andean tubers which have been an important part of traditional food and medicinal culture, but are currently under-used. They are traditionally cultivated with agro-ecological techniques, and are highly adaptable to different climate conditions and have valuable nutritional properties. The Boyacá Innovative Association of Andean Tubers and other public and private stakeholders have held a variety of local initiatives for tuber crops and uses to be reappraised, through participatory activities for generating information based on local traditional knowledge.

4. Climate Change Adaptation Measures in High Mountain Indigenous Communities in Ecuador

The Tungurahua Grasslands Management Fund and the Fight against Poverty is a public-private initiative of indigenous grassroots organisations, which arose in response to the need to halt the deterioration of the grassland ecosystems and the remnants of Andean forests which were the result of the lack of policies, governance and sustainable management of natural resources, especially water and biodiversity. The fund was created at the initiative of the indigenous groups of Tungurahua, and has implemented a variety of initiatives for conserving and protecting water sources, grassland and forests. It has financed a range of initiatives such as environmental education, the creation and strengthening of community enterprises and associative marketing, and provision of infrastructure and inputs that improve the quality of life of local communities.        

5. Climate-Smart Livestock-Production in Ecuador

The Climate-Adapted Livestock Production in Ecuador project will reduce the climate vulnerability of the livestock production sector and the communities and improve their capacity to adapt, in the provinces of Imbabura and Loja. Small and medium-scale livestock production is an important sector, but damages forests and grasslands through over-grazing with low productivity. The project designed and implemented a set of locally-adapted practices in response to the needs of each area: monitoring and evaluation tools, training and capacity-building, women’s empowerment, access to financial incentives and mechanisms, promoting public policies and strengthening livestock governance.

CONDESAN works through its project Adaptation at Altitude-Andes to systematize and disseminate these new solutions to promote the exchange of experiences and solutions for adaptation to climate change among mountain communities. Find out more by visiting the Adaptation at Altitude Solutions Portal.

About the Adaptation at Altitude Solutions Portal

The Adaptation Solutions Portal is maintained by the Adaptation at Altitude programme, which is implemented in the Andes by CONDESAN and supported by the SDC. The five solutions presented here were compiled by Raúl Córdoba for the Adaptation at Altitude-Andes programme, and the Andean Forests Programme.

About the Adaptation at Altitude project

Adaptation at Altitude works to promote knowledge management processes, generating comprehensive information and analysis, and identifying solutions to climate change in order to integrate them into territorial management and decision-making, from local to continental scale.

CONDESAN is operating the Adaptation at Altitude programme throughout 2019-2023 in the Andes, through an agreement with SDC. It works together with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in the mountain regions of East Africa and the South Caucasus, and with the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).

CONDESAN collaborates with global initiatives such as the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), the Mountain Research Initiative (MRI), the ZOÏ Environmental Network and the WeAdapt programme of the University of Geneva, and with key partners in the Andes.  It supports two continental monitoring networks in Andean mountain ecosystems: the GLORIA-Andes Network and the Andean Forests Network. The project is part of the global Adaptation at Altitude programme.

About the Andean Mountain Initiative

The Andean Mountain Initiative is a platform composed of the seven countries which share a common territory: the Andes mountains. Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela are voluntarily strengthening regional dialogue geared to promoting and undertaking joint actions in the Andes.


Useful links:
Web Adaptation at Altitude programme
Web Andean Mountain Initiative

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