From the project, a series of conclusions and lessons learned were derived, and grouped according to their focus area:

Institutional conclusions

1. Watershed committees allow for a governance of natural resources beyond the political boundaries that define borders, covering the basin. However, watershed committes have sectorial limitations, as they act in matters only direclty related to the basin. For that reason, it is essential that, whenever posible, watershed committees establish a close partnership with local government authorities, including municipalities. It is also important that municipalities establish inter-municipal alliances (alianzas inter-municipales)in order to overcome the limits of borders, allowing them to cover the entire watershed, even in cases of transnational borders.

2. Supranational feedback must begin from the communities located in the Andean plateaus, since they act as true guardians of the water recharge areas that feed the watersheds that flow through the subcontinent.

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Environmental conclusions

1. Water is the linking thread which connects the tropical Andes to most watersheds in South America, not only those flowing west to the Pacific Ocean, providing water for cities such as Lima, Quito and Guayaquil, but also east to the Atlantic Ocean, by way of the Amazon river basin and the La Plata River basin. As such, the hydrological stability of most of the continent depends on services provided by micro-ecosystems located above 4000 masl (páramos, wetlands and glaciers).

2. Climate change affects particularly the high Andean plateau, with extreme cold that causes high death tolls of animals. The increased frequency and annual recurrence of these events makes necessary to create state policies capable of addressing these episodes as part of a strategy for natural resources management, rather than for an emergency.

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Disaster Risk Management conclusions

1. A proper management of natural resources (MNR) is the central strategy for risk prevention. In accordance with its environmental context, MNR in the Andean countries requires the adoption of a watershed approach. This requires that participating countries make progress in strengthening institutions that facilitate water governance at the local and higher levels.

2. A strategy for adaptation to climate change /risk management /natural resources management (in the case of South America) must be addressed with a regional approach that goes beyond national boundaries to become a strategy for natural resources management in the sub-continent of South America as a territorial unit. Territorial unity of the continent of South America is determined by hydrological dynamics which, according to the law of gravity, has its origin in the higher elevations of the Andes, downstream to the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

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last updated:  Wednesday, July 16, 2014