Peruvian Civil Society Response
Another Peruvian response to climate change is called MOCICC, a civic movement on climate change, consisting of a national network of over 150 organisations made up of civil society, religious groups and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). It was launched in Lima in 2009 and recognises Peru’s vulnerability to climate change. MOCICC works nationally to raise awareness in Peru about the causes and impacts of climate change and lobbies the Peruvian government to take action. It works to give the worst affected by climate change a voice to influence national climate change adaptation and mitigation policy. Furthermore it organises public audiences to allow civil society to raise demands to local and regional government.
Response Through Local Adaptation Projects
On adaptation the Stern Review states “Adaptation is the only response available for the impacts that will occur over the next several decades before mitigation methods can have an effect” and that “Unlike mitigation, adaptation will in most cases provide local benefits, realised without long lead times”.
These projects acknowledge the exposure of certain regions and incorporate adaptation measures into their framework of development. They raise the local population’s awareness of climate change and highlight the importance of their active participation in the adaptation process.
80% of Peru’s entire water supply is used in agriculture and half of this is wasted, therefore water management is central to adaptation policy in Peru. There have been recent projects, some of which are supported by UK-based NGOs, changing the way water problems are managed.
In Yungay in the department of Ancash, agriculture accounts for 80% of the regional economy so it is an at risk area; a decrease in water from glacial melt will cause problems such as reduced crop yield and an increase in plant disease. A UK NGO called Practical Action opened a discussion with the local population, identifying indigenous attitudes to climate change and sharing information on the subject. They then used technological innovation to manage demand; in this case a system of drip irrigation was introduced.
Drip irrigation is the most important technique in water demand management; it is an irrigation system that gives plants the exact amount of water they require thus cutting out all waste. Since implementing this project in Yungay, water consumption in the area has reduced by one sixth and the local farmers have been trained to develop and maintain their own drip irrigation systems using funding from local government.
Another example of a successful adaptation policy is a project in Jequetepeque, northern Peru, where rice and sugar cane production dominate the landscape. The aim of the project was to improve irrigation techniques using technology and to improve the organisation of the local irrigation committees through gender inclusion. Participation in water management discussions in the area was previously restricted to men, although in reality the day to day use of water is managed by women and children.
The project successfully re-integrated both traditional and modern irrigation techniques, made the process gender inclusive and strengthened local government and civil society’s participation and collaboration. Today in Jequetepeque men, women and children have a role in water management and due to training and strengthened local organisations there are marked improvements in water management.
The more successful adaptation projects show how strong local organisation and good training can provide change. Adaptation works but difficulties remain, principally a lack of economic, human and technological resources and the lack of a strong institutional framework. Establishing a political framework for climate change is crucial for its inclusion in the development agenda.
Challenges to adaptation projects in Peru:
- The country’s vulnerability to climate variability
- Conflicts surrounding water scarcity
- Social structure and problems of gender inclusion in water use
- Skewed socio-economic conditions
- Geographic dispersion of communities and related cultural factors
- Weak existing institutional capabilities to assess Peru’s vulnerability
- Lack of experience in society and government; insufficient information and management on how to deal with climate change
- Climate change is still officially classed as part of the environmental debate though it should be examined in broader terms