3 latin american solutions against climate change

November 15, 2023

Climate change will hit developing countries hard, as they're more vulnerable and suffer more from extreme weather in their infrastructure, forests, coasts, and agriculture. In light of this, speeding up adaptation and disaster risk management is crucial. Latin America and the Caribbean have some success stories in this area that could become global references.

Bosque de manglares en la Península de Yucatán, México
Bosque de manglares en la Península de Yucatán, México
Fuente: Televisa
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Latin America and the Caribbean is one of the regions most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. These vulnerabilities have materialized in climate-related or climate-triggered disasters such as hurricanes, floods, forest fires, landslides and droughts, which have caused losses and damage to communities, infrastructure, biodiversity and productive systems.

For these reasons, adapting to climate change is crucial to ensure sustainable and inclusive development, poverty reduction, agricultural and fishery production, water security and, ultimately, life as we know it. Also, it's estimated that without proper adaptation measures, between 2.4 and 5.8 million people could fall into extreme poverty by 2030.

Among the best-known adaptation measures are building safer, sustainable, and resilient infrastructures, conserving and restoring forests and natural ecosystems, implementing nature-based solutions, managing disaster risks, and diversifying crops.

In recent years, the region has made progress in adaptation measures with promising results, which could be replicated globally. Here three of them:

-Conservation and restoration of wetlands and mangrove barriers. Mangroves are key ecosystems for the socio-economic development of the coastal population in Latin America and the Caribbean and are invaluable environmentally. They act as natural barriers against coastal erosion, are major carbon sinks, and host a variety of wildlife species in their early stages of development. Examples of this initiative can be found in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, Guayaquil, and Trinidad and Tobago.

- Construction of albarradas. These are ancient hydraulic earth constructions of various sizes, featuring walls, headers, and arms, sustained by vegetation planted by local communities. They're filled slowly with rainwater or water from small streams. Albarradas enhance infiltration, aiming primarily to recharge aquifers, making the most of scarce rainfall in dry areas. An example of this initiative can be found in Mocahe, Ecuador.

-Sowing and harvesting water. This is the process of collecting (seeding) rainwater in the subsoil in order to recover it later (harvesting). It is done through the construction of infiltration ditches, qochas, conservation and recovery of grasslands, as well as afforestation and reforestation. This practice has also ensured agricultural activity in areas where water is scarce, or where the effects of climate change are already being felt. Due to its effectiveness, water planting and harvesting has also been replicated in other countries where this technique was unknown and has been the subject of several studies. Some examples of this are found in Lake Tota (Colombia) and Cochabamba (Bolivia).

CAF at COP28

CAF - the development bank of Latin America and the Caribbean - will present at COP28 in Dubai an unprecedented pavilion dedicated to the challenges and opportunities climate change poses for the region, to promote its climate interests and global negotiations. Under the motto 'We are the Solution', the Pavilion will showcase Latin America and the Caribbean as a region of global solutions to tackle climate change and ensure planetary sustainability.

This exclusive space will amplify the voice of the region's countries, presenting concrete experiences related to strategic ecosystems, energy transition, renewable energies, and sustainable agri-food production. The LAC Pavilion at COP28, designed, managed, and funded by CAF, will be a hub for discussion and analysis of the region's pressing climate action issues, available to Latin American and Caribbean delegations, media, NGOs, community leaders, indigenous and Afro-descendant communities and civil society.

Check out the LAC special at COP28