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Climate Change Could Increase Poverty In Peru; Indigenous Peoples Respond
Climate Change Could Increase Poverty In Peru; Indigenous Peoples Respond2013-12-18

A recent report in The Guardian highlights how Peru's growing economy is especially vulnerable to climate change. According to reporter Dan Collyns:

Peru, which has four of the five geographical areas most vulnerable to climate change – ranging from fragile mountain ecosystems to low-lying coastal areas – will host the 20th UN climate change conference in 2014.

The 2013 UNDP report warned that Peru's climate change vulnerability could undo the advances it has made in channelling economic growth into sustained poverty reduction. Peru's poverty rates have been more than halved over the past decade, dropping from 48.5% of the population in 2004 to 25.8% in 2012, according to the World Bank.

"If we disregard [environmental] sustainability, whatever progress we have made in poverty reduction or improvement of human development will just be erased due to climate change," cautioned Maria Eugenia Mujica, one of the UNDP report's authors.

Peru has already lost 39% of its tropical glaciers due to a 0.7C temperature rise in the Andes between 1939 and 2006. But, the report noted, with a predicted temperature rise of up to 6C in many parts of the Andes by the end of this century, there will be "harmful impacts on human development".

Peru, which contributes just 0.4% of the world's greenhouse gases, was ranked third after Bangladesh and Honduras, in climate hazards risks by the UK's Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.

In Peru, like in many other places, indigenous peoples are among the most vulnerable to climate change’s impacts, threatened by phenomena like melting glaciers and changing agricultural patterns. But while it’s true that climate change threatens the country’s more economically developed areas, the indigenous people most impacted by climate change are also the ones most likely to be among that 25.8 percent still below the poverty line, making potential ecological disruption even more dangerous.

At the Potato Park IPCCA Local Assessment site in the Peruvian Andes, indigenous peoples are working to adapt to the threats by preserving potato agrobiodiversity, and by adjusting planting seasons and altitudes in order to follow the changing climate.

Photo: The Potato Park



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diseño gráfico: Gissel Enriquez