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Climate change present major challenges for development, especially in highly vulnerable countries such as Peru, which concentrates 71% of the tropical glaciers in the world and whose basins are a source of freshwater for public consumption, food production and the generation of hydro-electricity. The great biological diversity and the large Andean, Amazonian and coastal-marine ecosystems as well as the population are threatened.

Then climate change becomes a factor that exacerbates the vulnerability of populations in poverty, especially those located in the High Andes zone whose livelihood depends directly on farming and therefore on the climate.

In order to face the challenges of the impact of climate change in the Country, the Peruvian government has made continuous and growing efforts from various sectors and ministries. In recent years, the Ministry of Environment, established in 2008, has generated the public policies on the subject, with the active support of bilateral and multilateral international cooperation.

Framework of international and national policies and regulations

In the last years, the parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have recognized the importance of international policies that contribute to finance the process of adaptation to climate change of developing countries. In The Cancun Agreement (2010), developed countries agreed to provide especially the most vulnerable ones, with financing, technology and the strengthening of additional predictable capabilities, of larger scale and long term in order to implement adaptive actions, plans, projects and programs at different government levels. Developed countries were also invited to present documents that show the resources committed in order to achieve the 'fast-start financing' mentioned one year before under The Copenhagen Agreement. It also laid the foundation for the operation of The Green Fund of Copenhagen for the Climate.

Peru has seven of the nine characteristics of vulnerability that must be addressed with greater urgency in accordance with Article 4.8 of the UNFCCC, and as such, is one of the recipients of international technical and financial cooperation. One of these features, "ezonas”- fragile ecosystems, including mountain ecosystems- and it is of special interest to the PACC. According to the IV Report of the Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), mountain ecosystems are among the most likely to suffer severe ecological impacts, with high levels of certainty. In this regard, the populations living in these areas, whose livelihoods depend on ecosystem services, including the provision of water resources, are themselves especially vulnerable to climate change.

The National Climate Change Strategy 2003, included as a strategic axis 11, the "management of fragile ecosystems, especially mountain ecosystems to mitigate vulnerability to climate change." The proposed new strategy (pending approval) also emphasizes the importance of reducing the vulnerability of populations in vulnerable areas.

National policy context

The new national government installed in July 2011 has continued past governments policies, particularly on economic issues. Peru's economy continues to grow at a significant rate (6.2% in 2012, which is above the Latin American average of 3.1%). However, it is decreasing compared to previous years (8.8% in 2010 and 6.9% in 2011). Despite the stagnation in Europe and the United States and the slowdown of the Chinese economy, the projections for 2013 remain optimistic (about 6%), and it is likely that the trend will continue in the following years. This means significant and steady tax revenues for government programs in all sectors and levels of government.

Despite the above, important economic and social inequalities remain in the country, with 30% of the population in poverty and 8% in extreme poverty in 2012. In order to address this situation the new government established the Ministry of Development and Social Inclusion (MIDIS), with the aim of improving the quality of life of the poor and vulnerable. The public policy of social inclusion of this ministry, seeks to build on solid evidence showing relationship between actions and impacts on poverty reduction; but also focus action in the territories with the largest deficits in services and development under regional gaps analysis. This analysis has placed as a first priority 341 districts in 6 regions of the southern Andes of Peru (more than one third located in Apurimac and Cusco). MIDIS policies, looking at an early stage, ensuring universal access to public services, and in a second, giving access to opportunities, through sustained income generation strategies, food security, vulnerability reduction and employment ; have a clear convergence with the challenges of climate change adaptation in rural Andean populations.

MINAM has strengthened under the new national government by prioritizing environmental policy in general and specifically on the issue of climate change, in order to:

  • Include the approach to climate change in development planning.
  • Articulate the action of the conventions on climate change, desertification and biodiversity.
  • Complete the update of the National Climate Change Strategy.
  • Deepen advising regional governments for the development of regional climate change strategies and implementation of the training plan for the management of climate change.

This set of public policy provides a favorable context for the development of PACC in its second phase, both for national scaling experiences and effective practices of Adaptation to Climate Change (ACC) as for its deepening in the region.

Regional political, economic and social context in Apurimac and Cusco

With the change of regional and local authorities in 2011, political priorities were redefined. However, in Apurimac and Cusco, the new administrations of these sub-national governments reaffirmed the commitments for insertion of PACC in management. Both regional governments adopted its Regional Strategies Facing Climate Change (ERFCC for its acronym in Spanish) linked to regional development plans agreed (PDRC). Thereby a framework of regional public policies for adaptation is defined and it provides important insights for the second phase of the PACC.

Despite the above, there are still serious difficulties in the implementation of policies. In November 2012, the regional government of Cusco and Apurimac had executed only 46% and 44% of its annual investment budget, respectively; which expresses difficulty of formulating and implementing public investment projects, which adds to the limited practice of intersectional and intergovernmental coordination, a lack of information and studies, which reduces effectiveness and quality of public administration.

Poverty and extreme poverty persist in significant levels in both regions. While nationally, extreme poverty was reduced to less than 10%, in Apurimac and Cusco it reaches 40% and 20%, respectively. The decline in rural poverty is a prerequisite for strengthening the resilience of populations from the highlands facing the impact of climate change.

Another notable fact in recent years is the mining development in Cusco and Apurimac. In the latter region mining projects totalize 8,000 million dollars, and in 2011 mining investments reached more than 550 million. The concessions cover 57% of the territory of Apurimac, Cusco 20% and 80% in provinces like Cotabambas and Chumbivilcas. Along with the medium and large mining, there is an informal mining, often performed by local peasant population, which violates environmental standards and constitutes a permanent danger to the health of the miners themselves.

The mining expansion has increased social unrest. Over 60% of socio-environmental conflicts identified by the Ombudsman revolve around the mining activity. The high Andean populations express a greater demand and sensitivity to preserve the availability and quality of water, primarily for human consumption and agricultural activities on which they base their livelihoods. It is expected that this sensitivity is increased in the future, as climate change scenarios anticipate increased water scarcity. On the other hand, in areas where mining, this activity competes with agricultural and livestock activities for the use of local manpower, which creates less availability for agricultural activities, thereby decreasing cultivated areas and productivity.