Peru’s Environment Minister highlights NbS at Leaders’ Summit
On the 22nd and 23rd of April, the US hosted the 2021 Leaders’ Summit on Climate. In this event, the Peruvian Minister of Environment Gabriel Quijandría shared key actions that Peru is taking on nature-based solutions (NbS). Speaking from Machu Picchu, a place recognized as the peak of development for Andean civilization, he highlighted the capacity of Andean culture to develop nature-based solutions. In fact, many of Peru’s native communities in the Andes maintain ancestral knowledge and capacity for the sustainable management of ecosystems as part of their collection of solutions for development and wellbeing.
The Peruvian government acknowledges the role that nature plays and its importance to Peru’s sustainable and climate-resilient development. Thus, over the past years, the Ministry of Environment has led rigorous processes to develop important policies on climate change, including Peru’s Framework Law on Climate Change (2019). Future policy windows to increase the role of nature include: the development of Peru’s National Adaptation Plan, the update of Peru’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), and the development of Peru’s National Strategy on Climate Change towards 2050 with guidelines towards becoming carbon neutral and climate resilient.
When asked what role nature-based solutions play in Peru’s National Strategy on Climate Change, Minister Quijandría shared that 21% of all adaptation measures (19 out of 92) have been characterized as NbS. Going forward, the Ministry will continue to advocate for initiatives that protect, restore and conserve forests, wetlands and other key ecosystems. In this regard, Minister Quijandría believes that Peru must learn from its indigenous people and local communities who continue to live traditionally and use nature as their guide for planting crops, gathering water and managing forests, and to harness such knowledge to scale NbS across entire landscapes.
As the country with the 9th largest forest cover in the world, and with forests found in 40% of its territory, Peru holds great responsibility on climate mitigation and biodiversity conservation. Minister Quijandría indicated the need to invest in the significant potential of NbS in forest ecosystems of Peru, calling them “the complete package” to help address both environmental and development issues. The challenge lies in learning how to work with the different types of forests found in Peru, mainly the endemic coastal-Pacific, Andean and Amazon forests.
Overall, NbS are key for achieving Peru’s national targets and global commitments. In order to scale NbS, it is critical to leverage collaboration with the international community and the private and public sectors to enhance the transfer of knowledge and finance. Peru has an important track-record on working with international cooperation to implement projects and programs on NbS, including the support of the Governments of Canada and the United States for the restoration of watershed ecosystems to secure water for Lima’s 10 million residents through payment for ecosystem services schemes. According to Minister Quijandría, we need to continue to recognize nature as our ally towards building healthy and sustainable societies.