Andes of Peru (photo by Bryce Bray)

The challenges faced by the Andes’ unique ecosystems and peoples make it necessary to build a shared vision and strategy for the region’s sustainable development. The Andean Mountain Initiative (AMI), a platform consisting of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela, held its first Regional Governance Dialogue on Mountain Areas in the Andes on April 27 and 28, 2021 to develop that vision and strategy.

The event highlighted the creation of the Strategic Agenda for Adaptation to Climate Change in the Andes, the Andean Environmental Charter and the Andean Strategy for Disaster Risk Management, in addition to citing challenges such as integrating climate change into agricultural policies and establishing formal regional cooperation platforms. Several AMI countries’ initiatives and achievements were also recognized for their ongoing efforts and progress. Governance experiences from other mountain regions were also shared by representatives of the Carpathian Convention, the Alpine Convention and the Hindu Kush Himalaya Platform, in addition to others from the South Caucus and East Africa.

Various working group sessions took place to analyze crucial topics such as governance frameworks, priority lines of impact, social participation and engagement, and financing mechanisms. A common theme identified over the course of the dialogue was the need to develop strong institutions and governance frameworks (including binding agreements) to effectively address increasingly serious climate impacts such as melting glaciers and drought in mountain areas while providing mountain communities and stakeholders with greater visibility. According to Rosalaura Romeo, from the Secretariat of the Mountain Partnership hosted by FAO, “Mountains need to leave the small meeting sessions at international events and enter the center stage.”

This first Regional Dialogue brought together diverse array of actors’ ideas, experiences and opinions while strengthening common aspirations and concluded with a vision of the AMI in 2031 that encompasses: stronger institutions and international agreements, sustainable financing, consolidated dialogue spaces for a diversity of actors from the local to the international level, inclusion of marginalized and traditional mountain communities, and  integration with other mountain-related governance platforms.

The Regional Dialogue was orgnaized with the support of the Consortium for the Sustainable Development of the Andean Region – CONDESAN, UNEP in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the UNEP Mountain Hub in Vienna, and thanks to the participation of representatives of the Carpathian, Alpine and Himalaya Conventions and the Mountain Alliance (hosted by the FAO). The UNEP Mountain programme in the Andes is possible with with support of the European Union’s Euroclima+ programme, the International Climate Initiative of the German Ministry of Environment, and COSUDE’s Adaptation at Altitude programme.

Please click here for more details on the Regional Governance Dialogue on Mountain Areas.