The UN General Assembly established December 11 as the International Mountain Day with the goal of raising awareness about the importance of mountain ecosystems and the opportunities to promote their sustainable development.
The Andes are the longest mountain range on Earth and cross seven countries in South America: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. Andean ecosystems function as carbon reserves and sinks and regulate the water supply for millions of rural and urban inhabitants who depend on the Andean watersheds.
The region, however, faces five of the eight key climate risks identified in the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) for South America, including the risk of food insecurity due to drought, the risk to people and infrastructure due to floods and landslides, and the risk of water insecurity due to shrinking glaciers and variability in rainfall. Managing these climate risks requires knowing and addressing the causes of vulnerability (Adler et al. 2022; Castellanos et al. 2022). To do this, it is necessary to have knowledge, monitoring and governance tools that inform and promote the design and implementation of strategies that strengthen climate resilience.
In this climate capsule we share 10 initiatives for information and knowledge management that you should know if you work on adaptation to climate change in the Andes.
1. Andean Mountain Initiative
The Andean Mountain Initiative (AMI) is a platform integrated by the seven Andean countries to strengthen regional dialogue and promote joint actions in conservation and sustainable development. The AMI organizes events, dialogues, publications and regional management and planning documents to undertake adaptation actions in the Andean mountain range. For example, the regional synthesis of the study “Vulnerability and adaptation to climate change in high mountain areas of the Andean region” was published this year with the support of the Technical Secretariat of the AMI, CONDESAN, and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
2. Adaptación en los Andes
Adaptation in the Andes is a UNEP-managed platform that began as a Community of Practice for the exchange of knowledge and experiences on adaptation to climate change. It contains three modules: 1) Andean ecosystems and their services, 2) impacts, vulnerability and adaptation, and 3) safeguards and inclusive governance. The platform also allows participants to connect with more than 250 actors working to build climate resilience in the Andes from multiple sectors and work areas.
3. Adaptation at Altitude
The Adaptation at Altitude Solutions Portal seeks to increase the resilience and adaptive capacity of mountain communities and ecosystems to climate change by improving and transferring strategies and scientific knowledge to inform decision-making of national, regional and global political processes.
4. Plataform of Socio-environmental Indicators in the Andean Region
This regional platform systematizes key socio-environmental indicators to characterize patterns of climate change and land use, as well as elements associated with biodiversity, ecosystem services, socioeconomic dynamics and human well-being at the Andean regional scale.
5. GLORIA-Andes Network
GLORIA (Global Observation Research Initiative in Alpine Environments) is a long-term monitoring platform that studies the impacts of climate change on the biodiversity of high mountain ecosystems. GLORIA-Andes generates and provides information based on quantitative and standardized data on the vegetation of high mountain peaks in order to evaluate the impacts of climate change in the Andes.
The Regional Initiative for Hydrological Monitoring of Andean Ecosystems (iMHEA) is a network of organizations — local and international NGOs, public institutions and academic partners —interested in increasing and strengthening knowledge about the hydrology of Andean ecosystems to improve decision-making on the comprehensive water resources management at the Andean regional level.
7. ANDEX and the Reading Club JovenANDEX
ANDEX is the Regional Hydroclimate Program for the Andes, dependent on the Hydroclimatology Panel of the Global Energy and Water Exchanges Program (GEWEX), one of the central projects of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP). Its objective is to improve the understanding and prediction of the climate and hydrology of the Andes mountain range. They recently launched a book club to discuss scientific articles on a monthly basis.
8. Red de Bosques Andinos
The Andean Forest Network is a long-term monitoring platform focused on studying and understanding the dynamics of forests in the Andes. It maintains permanent plots in forests throughout the Andes where the behavior of tree communities and individual species are monitored. It includes an extensive collection of demographic data, as well as more intensive monitoring in some localities on functional traits, microclimate and carbon cycle processes.
The Andean Socioecological Observatories Network (ROSA, by its Spanish acronym) integrates different long-term monitoring efforts that exist in the Andes and supports the generation of scientific and academic knowledge through research projects, as well as the use and valuing of local knowledge and its importance in the implementation of adaptation solutions. Its objective is to generate and share information in a coordinated and efficient manner, identify gaps and link this knowledge to the management of the territory.
10. Mountain Partnership
This voluntary alliance of the United Nations brings together organizations and governments to work for the sustainable development of the world’s mountains. On the website you can find relevant publications, events and opportunities at a regional and global level.
Adler, C., P.Wester, I. Bhatt, C. Huggel, G.E. Insarov, M.D. Morecroft, V. Muccione, and A. Prakash. 2022. Cross-Chapter Paper 5: Mountains. In: Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [H.-O. Pörtner, D.C. Roberts, M. Tignor, E.S. Poloczanska, K. Mintenbeck, A. Alegría, M. Craig, S. Langsdorf, S. Löschke, V. Möller, A. Okem, B. Rama (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK and New York, NY, USA, pp. 2273 2318, doi:10.1017/9781009325844.022
Castellanos, E., M.F. Lemos, L. Astigarraga, N. Chacón, N. Cuvi, C. Huggel, L. Miranda, M. Moncassim Vale, J.P. Ometto, P.L. Peri, J.C. Postigo, L. Ramajo, L. Roco, and M. Rusticucci. 2022. Central and South America. In: Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [H.-O. Pörtner, D.C. Roberts, M. Tignor, E.S. Poloczanska, K. Mintenbeck, Alegría, M. Craig, S. Langsdorf, S. Löschke, V. Möller, A. Okem, B. Rama (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK and New York, NY, USA, pp. 1689–1816, doi:10.1017/9781009325844.014