Social inclusion for fight against climate change

At COP26, the EUROCLIMA+ Urban Water and Risk Management sectors presented the multiple opportunities for the inclusion of indigenous and rural communities through the stories of some of their projects.

9 November 2021. Bogotá, Colombia. In the Micaela Bastidas community in Abancay, Peru, protecting water is a team effort, but it wasn't always that way. Angélica Mozón, a leader, says that when the community was offered the chance to build qochas, which are small water reservoirs or artificial ponds built in natural depressions in the land, for harvesting rainwater that they can use in the future, they were suspicious.

Now, the story of this community is a success story that has reached Glasgow, Scotland, as part of the EUROCLIMA+ Urban Water sector's Water for Abancay project. "Now we don't lack water, we have learned through training to value our waters and we have enough water. Together with the community, we help each other," they sum up.

Their testimony was part of the three cases that were presented in the discussion 'The social inclusion of indigenous and rural communities for the success of climate change policies and adaptation to climate change', organised by the Urban Water and Risk Management sectors, which was presented in a hybrid, face-to-face and virtual format, during COP26. The event highlighted the fundamental importance of promoting the participation of these communities in decision-making and planning spaces to ensure their resilience to the effects of climate change, as they are among the main people affected by its impacts.

The panel, which was held on 6 November 2021, was inaugurated by Juan Enrique García, Programme Manager of the Spanish Agency for Development Cooperation - AECID, which together with the French Development Agency - AFD, implements the Urban Water and Risk Management sectors, and who began by stating that, in order to confront climate change, it is essential to "understand the threats and risks, strengthen governance in the territories, and increase the preparedness of communities in the face of its impacts".

Imagen conversatorio COP26

Sylvain Lefebvre, responsible for the Urban Water and Risk Management sectors at the French Development Agency - AFD, shared this view, stating that: "rural communities live most of the time in the upper watersheds and are very dependent on climatic conditions for their survival, with mostly agricultural and livestock activities. They are very important actors for the protection of natural areas and resources, which must be included in public policies.

The Micaela Bastidas community was trained to recognise the value of water, and to promote its conservation, with actions such as the Mechanism of Remuneration for Ecosystem Services, MERESEH. This law, implemented in Peru, explained Marco Sotomayor, from Helvetas Peru, an ally of 'Water for Abancay', allows the municipal company to levy a percentage of the drinking water bill, to invest it in conservation actions and sustainable use of ecosystems, involving the communities.

Isabel Gómez, from the Pachayatiña Pachayachay project of the Risk Management sector, which is implemented in Peru and Bolivia, also emphasised the fundamental importance of involving communities to prevent drought through actions such as water harvesting. "This is the main basis, water comes first. We are no longer wasting water resources, we are all preparing ourselves, not only those who are part of the project, we are all working together," she said. This is possible through climate workshops that allow them to socialise and train communities, explained Grover Mamani, from Helvetas Bolivia.

The last success story was the Community Climate Observation Network in Central America, presented by Adel García, from the Humboldt Centre in Nicaragua. Through this network, more than 200 stations have been installed for climate monitoring and accompaniment of small producers, generating early warning systems, contributing to decision-making and adaptation to climate change, a joint work with NGOs, universities and national networks that include the population for the prevention of climate phenomena.

The event was closed by Vincent Merme, from AFD's Technical Assistance for EUROCLIMA+ projects, who concluded: "Beyond talking about adaptation to climate change, we must not forget to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. We are on a trajectory for a 16% increase in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. That means taking immediate and ambitious measures”.

EUROCLIMA+ Water management sector with an urban resilience perspective

Through this sector of the EUROCLIMA+ programme implemented by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) and the French Development Agency (AFD), a total of seven projects will be implemented. For more information on each project, please visit: http://euroclimaplus.org/en/water

About EUROCLIMA+

EUROCLIMA+ is a programme funded by the European Union to promote environmentally sustainable and climate-resilient development in 18 Latin American countries, particularly for the benefit of the most vulnerable populations. 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) GmbH, and UN Environment.

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