The Law on Glaciers Conservation

20 October 2007 | News story

During the 2nd Latin American Congress of National Parks and other Protected Areas in Bariloche, Argentina, the IUCN Environmental Law Centre (ELC) launched a new EPLP Publication. The book “Aspectos Jurídicos de la Conservación de los Glaciares” (Legal Aspects of the Conservation of Glaciers), a joint effort of the ELC and the IUCN Commission of Environmental Law, analyzes the legal situation of glaciers in Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Colombia, Perú, Ecuador and Venezuela, and suggests a series of recommendations for improving their legal status and conservation.

This new publication in the EPLP Series highlights the main gaps in policy and legislation relating to the conservation of glaciers ecosystems in South American countries. Through an in-depth study of the legal status and applicable laws and policies in Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Venezuela, the book offers a series of specific recommendations for the design of a legal framework aimed at protecting these vulnerable ecosystems. The book is supplemented by an analysis of the legal situation of glaciers at the international level. The gaps analysis and prospective recommendations look at glaciers from different perspectives: protected areas, landscape conservation, river basins utilization, climate change, and environmental services. The book includes the recommendations made by a Forum of Experts, which took place in Buenos Aires in 2005.


Dr. Alejandro Iza, Director of the IUCN Environmental Law Centre, emphasized that the book is the first of its kind. This unique publication aims at raising awareness on the part of the general public regarding the importance of these ecosystems for the survival of mountain ecosystems and their role as a provider of various environmental services, such as water.


The reduction of glacier masses will have a significant impact on the landscape, the utilization and quality of water, the flora and fauna in the Andean Region, and the livelihood of local population. The deterioration of the glaciers ecosystem has been hastened by climate change, and as well as by the impact of infrastructure projects, such as the case of Pascua Lama (Chile).


The book is a joint effort of the IUCN Environmental Law Centre and the IUCN Commission on Environmental Law, in particular its Water and Wetlands Specialist Group. Latin American members of this group provided an in-depth analysis of the legal framework relating to water resources in Latin America and identified a series of issues to be further explored, such as the legal aspects of glaciers conservation.
The book was launched during the 2nd Latin American Congress of National Parks in Bariloche on the 5th of October, 2007. Participants included national parks staff, journalists, NGOs, academics and other interested persons.


Martha B. Rovere, co-chair of the CEL Specialists Group on Water and Wetlands, Eugenia Ponce de León Chaux, author of the Colombian study, Robert Hofstede, Regional Director of IUCN-SUR, Sheila Abed, CEL Chair, and Alejandro Iza, Director of the ELC were present at the book launch.