Healthy ecosystems in Latin America for achieving the Paris Agreement goals


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During European Development Days, the role of the projects of the EUROCLIMA+ Forest, Biodiversity and Ecosystems (FBE) sector in strengthening populations and ecosystems vulnerable to climate change was explained.

25 June 2021.  Latin America and the Caribbean cover only 15% of the earth's land surface, but they are home to more than 50% of the world's biodiversity. They also concentrate half of the world's tropical forests, which are important ecosystems, and 30% of the world's freshwater reserves, as well as vast tracts of arable land. In addition, the region has the largest number of endemic species on the planet.

Against this backdrop, the European Union's study Beyond the Jaguar, explains that strategies to address environmental degradation and climate change in the region must focus on ensuring that ecosystems can respond to high levels of stress while still providing the services essential for human development and life.

The Forests, Biodiversity and Ecosystems (BBE) sector of the EUROCLIMA+ Programme contributes to climate change adaptation and mitigation through 9 projects implemented in 12 Latin American countries. 

"This sector aims to help meet the needs of local populations and countries to work on climate change mitigation and adaptation, to improve resilience and support the promotion of financial investments,"
says Dr. Thora Amend, BBE's technical advisor.

In turn, the projects provide lessons on how good ecosystem management contributes to climate action. The sector's initiatives are being scaled up at the public policy level and replicated in other countries of the region; this contribution allows for permanence over time.

Mauricio Luna Rodríguez, regional advisor to the EUROCLIMA+ Programme, argues that although some studies indicate that healthy ecosystems could mitigate up to a third of the greenhouse gases needed to meet the Paris Agreement targets by 2030, to make these actions sustainable is necessary to involve local actors and secure biodiversity benefits.

"Ecosystems provide multiple benefits to increase the resilience of populations to the impacts of climate change. They contribute to water and food security and enable disaster reduction. All these benefits contribute to achieving the goals set forth in the NDCs of Latin American countries," says Luna Rodríguez.

Beyond the jaguar and the BBE sector: contributions that go hand in hand

Thora Amend, during the event "Healthy Nature for a Good Climate" in the framework of the European Development Days, explained that the BBE sector is implementing concrete actions that coincide with the study Beyond the Jaguar. 


The specialist explained that BBE projects are developed under the framework of the six priority areas of study:

  1. Conservation and restoration: Based on the Forests Biodiversity and Community Development project, the first bi-national biological corridor is being created in Honduras and Guatemala, as a measure for adaptation and mitigation to climate change. Community development in this area depends on the conservation, protection and restoration of protected areas and in this context is the best way to address climate change.
  2. Sustainable production and trade: Through the Living and Producing in the Chaqueño Forest project, forest management plans with integrated cattle ranching are being implemented in Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay. Specialists work with local communities on forest management and restoration as part of the productive environments.
  3. Environmental management in urban and peri-urban areas: The Articulating Global Agendas from the Local level project implements actions for municipal governments in Mexico and Brazil to include participatory plans and development actions under the Ecosystem-based Adaptation approach. In addition, restoration actions for flood control in peri-urban regions are being developed in both countries.
  4. Environmental Governance. The Improving Governance and Land Use Management  has enabled the reforestation and restoration of 45 hectares of landscapes affected by deforestation in Honduras and Peru. The actions were carried out in a transparent way in the management of data in both countries. Together with local communities, the project contributed to food security, and promoted coexistence between humans and the forest.
  5. Knowledge management and awareness raising. Through capacity building with indigenous organisations in Panama and Bolivia, the project Benefits not Related to Carbon, is succeeding in creating development opportunities and strategies with local people based on forest ecosystems.
  6. Public policies and environmental planning. Knowledge transfer is the basis of the Sowing and Harvesting of Water and Ecosystem Services project, which has enabled Peru, through South-South cooperation, to provide Costa Rica with ancestral knowledge of sowing and harvesting rainwater for the construction of reservoirs that supply water. For its part, Costa Rica has provided Peru with knowledge about the system of payment for ecosystem services.



EUROCLIMA+ is a programme funded by the European Union and co-financed by the German Federal Government through the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), as well as by the governments of France and Spain. Its objective is to reduce the impact of climate change and its effects in 18 Latin American and Caribbean countries by promoting climate change mitigation and adaptation, resilience and investment. The Programme is implemented under the synergistic work of seven agencies: the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), the French Development Agency (AFD), the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Expertise France (EF), the International and Ibero-America Foundation for Administration and Public Policy (FIIAPP), the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), and the UN Environment Programme.

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