The implementation of ‘non-regret measures’ for adaptation to climate change in the Peruvian Andes has started
The Ecosystem-based Adaptation project in mountain ecosystems (EbA) is making progress. In the Nor Yauyos - Cochas Landscape Reserve (RPNYC in Spanish), the wetland restoration and the communal management of native pasturelands is about to start.
After a participatory process of planning, diagnosis and design in 2013 in which potential non-regret measures for adaptation to climate change were identified together with local stakeholders and external specialists, a milestone has now been reached with the start of the implementation of these measures in the communities of Miraflores and Canchayllo.
The selected measures in both communities include wetland restoration and the communal management of native pasturelands. To ensure a comprehensive approach, the implementation of the measures includes components with regard to institutional strengthening and communal organization, capacity building and infrastructure improvement (Fig. 1)
In Canchayllo, the measure consists of the restoration of a dike to reduce water filtration and to assure its storage during the dry season. Besides, a canal will be rehabilitated to transport water from the upper area (near a lake), to the communal farm. The water will be distributed in the farming area through ditches that benefit infiltration as well as the water regulation system in the upper and intermediate watersheds. The restoration of this canal will allow moistening 800ha of pastures during the dry season allowing wetland restoration and formation of natural watering troughs for livestock.
In Miraflores, the non-regret measure includes upper micro watershed conservation through the expansion of a protected zone with the implementation of sandbanks and protection fences. In addition to that, an existing water tubing system along the route of an ancient canal will be restored in order to bring water to the grazing area. It is expected that this water will allow the restoration of wetlands and/or the establishment of new natural watering troughs for livestock to better distribute the livestock in the communal territory, and therefore improve the landscape.
Florencia Zapata, Deputy Director of The Mountain Institute (TMI), highlights the importance of the non-regret measures having been designed through a participatory process involving local partners, external specialists, the RPNYC and other key actors. She also underlines the comprehensive approach of the non-regret measures, since in both communities the improvement of their water infrastructure will be accompanied by processes of strengthening the communal organization and local capacities for sustainable management of water and pasture resources. Precisely, the TMI conducted earlier this month, a participatory appraisal in both communities in order to design the communication strategy and capacity-building measures that will be implemented in the upcoming months.
The coordinator of the project, Anelí Gomez from TMI, highlighted the importance of the support and commitment of the communities and the RPNYC, assisting the process of the non-regret measures. She highlighted the participation of local researchers, community members, the mayors of the communities, and the RPNYC’s staff, who are committed to perform several activities that will contribute to the implementation of the measures. She also mentioned the interest and commitment of the communities to reduce the current pressure on pastures degraded by overgrazing towards a sustainable use of communal grazing areas.
Karen Podvin, IUCN Project Officer, ensures that the start of the implementation of non-regret measures marks a milestone in the EbA project, after a highly participatory process and thorough analysis to design suitable measures, comprehensive in both socio-economic and environmental aspects.
The non-regret measures will help to maintain and/or to improve ecosystem services, since they are oriented towards a more appropriate land management, including in this case, the grazing areas which are essential for the communities’ livelihoods. As women and men from the communities comment during their meetings: “We want degraded pastures due to overgrazing and lack of water to be history."