South America

Flickr/Trey Ratcliff

 

No other continent is dominated by mountains as much as South America. Most countries in the region are mountainous. Not only do all the major rivers like the Amazon originate in the Andes, but this vast mountain range also shapes landscapes - deserts and rainforests alike.

Some 85 million people live in the Andes, while at least a further 20 million people are also dependent on mountain resources and ecosystem services in the large cities along the Pacific coast of South America. The Andes play a vital part in national economies yet some of the region’s poorest areas are located in the mountains.

While water is one of the key management challenges in the region, other aspects are equally relevant, not least migration from the mountains to urban centers. Traditional knowledge in the region may no longer suffice to cope with extreme climate events, posing a serious risk to the livelihoods of many. To achieve sustainable development, policy action is required regarding the protection of water resources, responsible mining practices, adaptation to climate change practices and mechanisms to generate and use knowledge for sound decision making.

 

Transboundary cooperation to promote sustainable mountain development is increasing as Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru form a pro-Andes regional mechanism.

Latest news from the region

IMD events in the Americas

IMD events in the Americas

30.01.2017

Both North and South America marked International Mountain Day (IMD) through various events in Argentina, Bolivia, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru and the United States. The National Mountain Committee of...

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Chile’s public consultation on mountain policy

Chile’s public consultation on mountain policy

27.01.2017

Chile’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Heraldo Muñoz, has announced that Chile will be the first country in South America to have a national public policy on sustainable mountain...

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Resilience in the rural Andes

Resilience in the rural Andes

29.12.2016

A recently published special issue of Regional Environmental Change focuses on “Resilience in the rural Andes”. The Andes present an ideal learning space to draw lessons on existing...

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The Pewenche people of the Chilean Andes

The Pewenche people of the Chilean Andes

21.12.2016

Transhumance is the practice of moving livestock from one grazing ground to another in a seasonal cycle, typically to lowlands in winter and highlands in summer. In the lead up...

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Events in the region

International Glacier and Mountain Ecosystems Forum

International Glacier and Mountain Ecosystems Forum

Venue: Huaraz, Ancash, Peru
From: 10.08.2016 to: 13.08.2016

The International Glacier and Mountain Ecosystems Forum is an event that seeks to exchange experiences and knowledge about glaciers and mountain ecosystems, promoting opportunities for cooperation between public institutions, civil...

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Dialogue between Science and Policy: Opportunities for Discussion and Analysis

Dialogue between Science and Policy: Opportunities for Discussion and Analysis

Venue: Lima, Peru
From: 29.04.2016 to: 29.04.2016

Several Andean organizations are working on mountain ecosystems, allowing for closer collaboration and cooperation. OIKOS and CONDESAN are a clear example of partners working together.

In a...

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Mountains and water - from understanding to action

Mountains and water - from understanding to action

Venue: Lima, Peru
From: 11.12.2014 to: 11.12.2014

To mark International Mountain Day (11 December), this event will bring attention to the role, challenges and opportunities of mountains as the water towers of the world in a changing...

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The Mountain and Water Pavilion at UNFCCC COP20

The Mountain and Water Pavilion at UNFCCC COP20

Venue: Lima, Peru
From: 01.12.2014 to: 12.12.2014

During the 20th session of the Conference of Parties (COP20) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on 1-12 December 2014 there will be a pavilion reserved for...

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