on 25th March 2019

Communities and Local Government in Ecuador Working to Preserve Biodiversity

Pichincha is a territory situated in the High Andes in the North of Equator, characterized by a unique diverse ecosystem of “Paramos” constituted of endemic flora on lakeland and forest areas. This sensitive ecosystem provides significant water resources to the country, contributing to the water supply of the metropolitan district of Quito as well as the agrarian zones of the region. However, Pichincha is now seriously threatened by climate change, particularly by droughts, high winds and heavy rains, and has been particularly affected by the creation of an industrial belt in the region. This situation has forced famers to migrate or shift their production models.

To address these challenges, CARE Ecuador has been implementing, with the support of Fondation Ensemble, a climate change adaptation project. Conducted in collaboration with local authorities, the project supports small producers, indigenous communities and vulnerable families to adopt a climate-resilient agricultural model and contribute to the preservation of Andean Paramos.

Diego Morales – Representative from the municipality

Diego, a civil engineer by profession, is the Manager of the Municipal Company of Potable Water of the canton of Pedro Moncayo in Pichincha.

“I am very proud to be responsible for the provision of a quality service of potable water, and I take this work very seriously because it is a vital need for the whole population”, he says.

For Diego, the project has had positive impacts on the sensitivity of the authorities about the importance of water, and how climate change mitigation and adaptation can contribute to protecting water resources.

“Four to five years ago, the municipal budget allocated to the lagoons’ improvement was only 1,000 to 2,000 USD. Next year, it will reach 37,000 USD with the aim to improve the whole lakeland system of the region,” Diego explains.

This was achieved through training sessions, as well as meetings held between the different departments of the city council, CARE, and the municipal water authority, to coordinate the actions related to the management of the area.

According to Diego, it is essential to work in harmony with the different sectors, to make all stakeholders and users aware that the area is a place that must be preserved. On the positive side, with tourism increasing, people understand more and more the importance of preservation and land owners are collaborating on conservation to provide good water quality and awareness about sustainable water consumption.

Finally, he concludes: “Contributing to the well-being in the canton is not a task which can happen overnight. It is a long process. But, progressively, we can guarantee access to quality water for the whole population.”

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