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UNESCO Holds Workshop on Impact of Glacier Retreat in Andes

UNESCO30 May 2012: The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) organized a regional workshop titled "The Impact of Glacier Retreat in the Andes: International Multidisciplinary Network for Adaptation Strategies" under the auspices of its International Hydrological Programme (IHP), and Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme.

The workshop, which took place in Lima, Peru, from 29-30 May 2012, was organized in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) Mountain Partnership Secretariat, the Consorcio para el Desarrollo Sostenible de la Ecorregión Andina (CONDESAN), the Andean Climate Change Interamerican Observatory Network (ACCION), the Grupo de Trabajo de Nieves y Hielos (GTNH-IHP), and the Third Pole Environment (TPE). It brought together 40 participants, including representatives from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru (Andean countries), Belgium, China, Spain and the US, as well as international and regional organizations.

The worshop initiated a process between UNESCO IHP and MAP, and the Andean Member States, aimed at establishing an international network in order to facilitate a dialogue between researchers and decision makers, as well as identify research and policy needs. Participants engaged in three working groups that addressed the following themes: climate impact assessment - snow, glacier, and water resources; vulnerability assessment in the Andean region; and policy assessment in the Andean region.

Each working group developed recommendations. The group on climate impact assessment called for strengthening education and capacity building, publishing and disseminating information on high mountain ecosystems, and proposed the creation of a center of excellence on glaciology in Huaraz, Peru, under the auspices of UNESCO. The group on vulnerability stressed the need to establish a typology of the vulnerability of glaciers, as well as of the physical and demographic environment. The group on policy underscored the need to: complement existing normative frameworks and formulate new policies and laws; enhance exchanges and dialogue among scientists, decision makers, donors and local communities; and ensure free access to data and information sharing. [UNESCO Press Release] [IISD RS Sources]