Bolivia: Economics of adaptation to climate change study

The Economics of Adaptation to Climate Change study (EACC) will inform the international community's efforts to provide new and additional resources to developing countries through a better understanding of the global costs of adapting to climate change. It will also help decision makers at the national level to better cost, prioritize, sequence and integrate robust adaptation strategies into their development plans and budgets.

Why the Plurinational State of Bolivia?

Climate change has caused an increase in floods and forest fires across the country in the past five years. Melting glaciers, violent hail storms and El Niños are occurring more frequently in the Andes region. The IPCC foresees greater frequency and intensity of extreme events in the Plurinational State of Bolivia.

Agriculture composes nearly 20 percent of the country's GDP and 65 percent of its work force. According to the Plurinational State of Bolivia's National Communication to the UNFCCC, extreme events and natural disasters are limiting agriculture and causing migration to already crowded cities. This is causing economic losses and increasing the vulnerability of the poor.

Social Dimensions - Livelihoods and Poverty

Rural communities in the Altiplano have always coped with high risks from climate variability. In recent decades their resilience has decreased due to the depletion of vegetation and pastures, soil erosion and desertification and the contamination of water bodies. Climate change with its changes in temperature and precipitation patterns will now put additional stress on agriculture-related business.

Farmers have already begun to adjust their productive practices by expanding their growing areas, migrating crops, selecting resistant seeds and attempting to improve soil water management. These practices don't grasp the magnitude and effects of forthcoming climatic changes and in some cases may in fact increase the risk for future generations.

EACC in Bolivia

Numerous ongoing initiatives in the Plurinational State of Bolivia supported by the government address the issue of climate change and contribute to the Second National Communication to the UNFCCC, which is under preparation.

The government of the Plurinational State of Bolivia is actively engaged in addressing the issue of climate change as shown in a recent address by President Evo Morales at the UNFCCC COP 14 conference in Poznan. He stated that protecting the environment, social development and the active participation of civil society are the three pillars of a new vision for Bolivia.

The EACC study will try to complement ongoing initiatives by bringing a broader component of the costs of adaptation to the Plurinational State of Bolivia. Potentially, results of the EACC could help the government in the climate change negotiations and strengthen the understanding of the costs of adaptation at the national level.

In the Plurinational State of Bolivia the study will focus on the agriculture and water sectors and cross-cutting components including a social analysis and CGE modeling.

Adapting to Climate Change

The Bolivian government is working on vulnerability studies and has identified certain adaptation strategies it plans on pursuing. These include:

- Sustainable forest management;

- Enhancing the efficiency of industrialization processes;

- Reducing habitat fragmentation;

- Improving soil and water resource management, agriculture research and technology transfer;

- Identifying pastures resistant to climate change and improving livestock management;

- Coordinating water use and water conservation.