Seven Local Climate Action Plans for the environmental governance of the Greater American Chaco

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Through the Participatory Climate Action (PCA) project, more than 800 rural families in Argentina are benefiting from new capacities and spaces for debate that allow them to advance the implementation of climate action plans.

22 July, Argentina. The Greater American Chaco, a region shared by Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia and Brazil, is home to the second largest forest in Latin America, which is the scene of the largest process of deforestation and land use change in the last decade. As a consequence of the disappearance of the forest and extensive agricultural production, farming and indigenous communities are affected in their access to natural resources - land and water - and their ability to improve their quality of life and production.

Facing the challenges of the Greater Chaco region, since June 2019, the project "Participatory Climate Action: integrating the challenges of climate change in the Greater American Chaco" (PCA), which is being implemented in Argentina and Paraguay, contributes to environmental governance with an emphasis on supporting local governments and the communities of the Chaco forest – rural farming and indigenous - considered as the main environmental defenders of the territory.


In Argentina, the project is being developed in 7 localities in 4 different provinces: Las Breñas (Chaco), Villa Tulumba (Córdoba), Patquia and Olta (La Rioja), El Mojón, Villa Matoque and San José del Boquerón (Santiago del Estero). Each has different population characteristics, policies and regulations related to land use, water and forest management, and vary in the availability of resources and technical capacities. However, they all share the need for strategic planning in the face of problems generated by climatic events, such as droughts and floods, and by the change in land use that has modified the production possibilities of the rural communities.

The voices of the rural territories

In order to contribute to the communities, seven Local Climate Action Plans were launched in December 2020 and March 2021 in the aforementioned localities. Since their preparation, these documents are the first to comply with national and international regulations and policies. But fundamentally, they make visible the needs and proposals generated from the voices of the rural territories.

Rural farming and indigenous communities have multiple needs, including access to water for consumption and production, preservation of native forests, support for agro-ecological and climate-resilient food production, access to internet and communications, housing improvement and land regularisation, among other fundamental issues for local development. Therefore, the Local Climate Action Plans address these needs and present concrete strategies with new productive options and innovations to contribute to solving local problems.

 

The Local Climate Action Plans
are available here..

 

Each Local Climate Action Plan had three stages. In the first stage, a Socio-environmental Vulnerability Analysis of the localities was generated; in the second, Greenhouse Gas Inventories were carried out; and in the last stage, planning was defined for the resolution of the socio-environmental problems identified. The latter seeks to generate a perspective towards the year 2030.

Local climate action roundtables for participatory environmental governance

 

 “We want to promote an effective and dynamic construction in a planning process that allows localities to respond to droughts and floods, deforestation and the subsequent extension of the agricultural frontier," says Paula Juárez, CAP project coordinator in Argentina, Fundación Plurales.

A true participatory environmental governance of the Chaco territory requires exploring and traveling new paths, learning, adjusting and redoubling actions. For this reason, the Local Climate Action Plans were developed jointly by different representatives and actors, representatives of the municipal governments and grassroots and rural farmer organisations in each of the 7 localities, and were built through the Local Climate Action Roundtables, a new specific instrument generated by the CAP project to design and build the plans in a participatory manner.

Through the Local Climate Action Roundtables, local, regional and national debates were held to work on regional development, taking into account some cross-cutting issues such as a vision of environmental and social justice, the gender perspective -- taking into account the role of women - and the stewardship of water in the semi-arid forest.

In parallel, training and capacity building processes were carried out for local governments and organisations in the territories on climate change adaptation and mitigation, on topics such as forests and agroforestry, agroecology, community water management, communication, among others.

The member organisations of the Local Climate Action Roundtables participated and reinforced their interest in the proposed tools and processes. In turn, in the local governments of Santiago del Estero - given the high rates of social vulnerability and the greater difficulties encountered in the territory - an Interlocal Climate Action Roundtable of Salado Norte (the articulation of three local roundtables) was promoted with the aim of strengthening and building synergies between the localities of Boquerón, El Mojón and Villa Matoque so that they can make better use of their capacities and resources, and can consider larger-scale initiatives.

Paula Juárez, coordinator in Argentina of the CAP project, Plurales Foundation, explains that these tools aim to articulate the voices of local governments with those of other organisations, both public and private, in each of the territories, especially those of the rural farming and indigenous communities of the Greater Chaco.

 

PLURALES Santiago del Estero Argentina Boqueron 02
 Local planning workshop in communities of Santiago del Estero (Argentina)

 

Demonstration pilots benefiting rural families

During 2021, the CAP project has been accompanying the co-design and implementation of actions foreseen in the Plans and is supporting demonstration pilots, which are being developed on key issues, such as access to water for consumption and production, rural digital inclusion, agroecology and others, which are intended to be replicated and scaled up.

To date, more than 800 rural families have benefited directly from the demonstration pilots. The project considers it vital that the participatory governance process is accompanied by new capacities and concrete material results in the territories that stimulate and strengthen the local roundtables.

Franco Ciafrandini, who is part of the technical team of the Argentina Network of Municipalities against Cambio Climático (RAMCC), explains that the existence of the Local Roundtable for Climate Action, created by the CAP, is fundamental:

“It is good that the plan belongs to a territory and not to a government. Articulating it with different organisations and debating it in these types of scenarios is fundamental. The fact that organisations and civil society in general make it their own and that they continue to participate in new updates, continue to get involved, means that the proposed actions can be carried out with greater certainty," says Ciafrandini.

The RAMCC has supported the design of almost 200 plans, but these 7 plans are the first that it has developed working not only with municipalities, but also with other local actors and particularly, integrating voices from rural areas. At the same time, RAMCC stresses the importance of these plans because they are smaller scale municipalities and from the northern regions that are not usually linked to the Network.

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About EUROCLIMA+

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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