Climate Change Adaptation Program to be implemented in Departments of Cuzco and Apurímac

Peru’s Environment Ministry and Switzerland’s Agency for Development and Cooperation, or Cosude, are to implement a Climate Change Adaptation Program in Peru’s Departments of Cuzco and Apurímac, daily La República reported Monday.

“By ratifying the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, Switzerland has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and supporting the South in the implementation of climate change measures. Our agency is expanding its activities by integrating climate as a fullfledged theme in the development process,“ reports Cosude on its website.

The project, which aims to reinforce the sustainable use of natural resources, by promoting cooperation among local, regional and national players in order to make the population less vulnerable to natural disasters and climate change, will stress the importance of public-private partnerships on water infrastructure projects, and the sustainable use of biodiversity.

In Peru, home to 70 percent of Earth’s tropical glaciers, water and climate change are dire issues. The country’s glaciers, which feed hydroelectric plants and provide drinking water to Lima, the world’s second largest desert city after Cairo, Egypt, are in the process of accelerated meltdown due to global warming.

According to Peru’s National Resources Institute, or Inrena, the Andes Mountains have lost at least 22 percent of their glacier area since 1970.

In 2007, Irena’s Glaciological Unit reported that the Broggi Glacier, located atop Cordillera Blanca — the largest glacier chain in the tropics – had completely disappeared. And, in 2008, just two years after residents and local authorities first sounded the alarm, climate change was blamed for the complete disappearance of Quilca Mountain’s snow cap.

The lack of snow atop Quilca Mountain is likely to cause water shortages in the region, especially for populations living around the mountain.

Climate change has also recently been held responsible for the crop failure of approximately 80,000 hectares of potato and 60,000 hectares of corn crops that would have nourished up to 11 million Peruvians.

According to experts, Peru’s central highlands have lost more than 350 millions soles, or $116 million, because of climate change over the past 10 years.

“This situation is getting worse at high altitudes, where most of the land is not irrigated and depends on climate for production,” said Carlos Torres Martínez, a scientist employed by Peru’s Agriculture and Irrigation Program.

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