Mountain Adaptation

The Minister for the Environment of Chile, Javier Garcia, introduced a side event on mountain adaptation by talking about the importance of mountains. ½ the world’s water supply and ½ the world’s biodiversity hotspots are in mountains. Even though people tend to live in valleys they are dependent on mountains for many ecosystem services. The Minister of the Environment for Peru, Antonio Brack (who has a striking resemblance to Professor David Firestone) then began by talking about how friendly mountain people are, and how mountain people are always smiling. He spoke about how all mountains have an important role. He also made an impassioned plea that the international conferences for biodiversity, climate change and desertification be combined to save money and because the issues are so intertwined. Peru has 70% of the world’s tropical glaciers and 22% of glaciers have been lost in 30 years.

Peru created an interesting adaptation program called PACCPERU Programa de Adaptacion al Cambio Climatico. This program is a bilateral initiative b/w the Peruvian Ministry of the Environment & the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. The program has 4 desired results (1) know vulnerabilities (2) monitor and inform through a regional information system (3) implement adaptation measures in agreement with local stakeholders and (4) learn to engage in political dialogue from the local to international level. I was particularly impressed because even though this is an international program, pilot projects are managed by families within prioritized watersheds. Often these projects take into account how traditional practices for the Andean communities can be used for adaptation. 60% of communities within pilot watersheds have implemented agreements to promote adaptation related to water or agriculture.