Workshop Seeks to Guide Research, Science-Based Adaptation Strategies in the Andean Region

UNESCO-IHE28 November 2013: 'The Science Policy Workshop: Impacts of Global Climate Change on Snow, Glaciers and Water Resources in the Andes: Policy Recommendations for Adaptation Strategies' addressed the optimization of research efforts and identified science-based policy needs for climate change adaptation strategies in the Andean region, with a focus on its water resources.

The workshop, which took place from 20-21 November 2013, in Quito, Ecuador, aimed to guide research initiatives and public policy in search of science-based climate change adaptation strategies for the Andean Region. The event brought together glaciologists, hydrologists, water resources experts, social scientists, local and national policy advisers, practitioners, such as mountain biosphere reserve managers, and local stakeholders. Workshop participants included representatives from Argentina, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Switzerland, the UK and the US.

The workshop developed general recommendations to scientists, policy advisers and decision makers to the Andean countries on new research agendas to guide adaptation policy. It also identified strategies to successfully implement adaptation measures in mountain areas, including moorlands and wetlands.

In the workshop's plenary sessions, experts presented on advances and challenges in different areas, such as mapping the vulnerability of water resources to global changes in the Andean region, policy needs for adaptation strategies in water resources management, the status of research on glacier retreat in the Andes, and lessons learned in local adaptation plans. Breakout sessions tackled four areas: prioritizing scientific research for developing adaptation policies; policy needs and gaps to address environmental and non-environmental vulnerability challenges in the region; education and curriculum needs; and best practices in local adaptation projects.

The workshop was organized by the International Hydrological Programme (IHP) of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Consortium for the Sustainable Development of the Andean Eco-Region (CONDESAN), Ecuador's Water Secretariat (SENAGUA), and the Andean Climate Change Interamerican Observatory Network (ACCION), an initiative of the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA). The workshop was followed on 22 November 2013 by a meeting of UNESCO IHP's Working Group on Snow and Ice (GTNH). [ECPA Press Release] [SENAGUA Press Release (in Spanish)] [UNESCO Press Release (in Spanish)]