10 April 2017, Quito - Climate change impacts are already visible throughout Ecuador. Studies conducted in the snow-capped mountains, estimate a loss of approximately 40 percent of the Ecuadorean glacier coverage over the past century.
Furthermore, researchers were able to determine the association between changes in temperature and precipitation and the distribution of vectors such as _Aedes aegypti, _and it was concluded for the first time that the altitude limit of this mosquito species reaches 1000 meters above sea level in the foothills of the Cordillera Occidental, and 1650 meters in the Cordillera Oriental (Navarro, J.C, et.al, 2015). The oceanic zone is not excepted from the effects of climate change: the analysis of long-term trends in sea surface temperature shows an increase of 1 ° C (Breaker et.al, 2016). This increase in temperature could endanger marine species in a similar way to El Niño-related events which have been associated with the death of 70 percent of the penguins, 90 percent of the sea lions or 50 % of the cormorants in the Galapagos Islands (Palacios, et. al., 2011).
Ecuador, a nation known for its biological and cultural diversity and for its varying climatic zones, finds itself at a crossroads, where effective planning for climate change adaptation will be a cornerstone to achieving development goals. Consequently, the Government of Ecuador is taking firm steps to build resilience to climate change by beginning work to create a National Adaptation Plan with support from the United Nations Development Programme-UN Environment National Adaptation Plan Global Support Programme (NAP-GSP).
In this context, from 22 to 24 February 2015, a workshop on the formulation of Ecuador’s National Adaptation Plan (NAP) took place in Quito, with the active participation of representatives of various public and private institutions, universities, international cooperation agencies, among others.
According to Maria Victoria Chiriboga, Undersecretary of Climate Change of the Ministry of Environment, the NAP is undoubtedly an ideal tool to contribute to the process of mainstreaming climate change management at a cross-sectoral scale with a territorial approach.
In this regard, the NAP is designed as a tool that facilitates adaptation planning at the national and subnational levels and allows the assessment of vulnerabilities and the incorporation of climate change risks at sectoral and territorial scales. This instrument enables effective climate change adaptation in priority sectors identified in the development planning for the country.
Within this framework, the next steps include the identification of needs, gaps and constraints to climate change adaptation; the generation and interpretation of critical information for implementing climate change adaptation plans; the design and adoption of a long-term implementation strategy; the monitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness of the adaptation process; and the development of a financing and sustainability strategy to ensure the implementation of the NAP
For Ecuador, the mentioned aspects meet two objectives of the NAP:
To facilitate the integration of climate change adaptation into policies, programs, projects and activities that are relevant for both public and private management, through development planning processes and instruments at the territorial, sectoral and local levels.
To be the tool that contributes to the reduction of the vulnerability of human and natural systems, established within its territory, to climatic variability, climate change and/or extreme weather events.
To achieve these objectives, during 10 years of institutionalism, Ecuador has generated information related to knowledge transfer (research and studies) in climate change adaptation in diverse sectors (for example water, ecosystems, agro-forestry and energy). Additionally, the country has registered multiple adaptation experiences implemented in its territory, incorporating a gender approach, with citizen participation and empowerment of local authorities, supported by non-governmental organizations, international cooperation agencies and UN agencies.
The next steps in this process include completing the preparation of the NAP proposal and obtaining the endorsement of the Designated National Authority (Ministry of Environment), for subsequent delivery of the proposal to the Technical Committee of the Adaptation Fund for approval.
Available in Spanish. Translation by Sara Hernandez.