The Alliance for the Andean Wetlands brings together organizations for the protection and conservation of wetlands
Foto: Guille Álvarez en Unsplash.
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21 November 2023
The alliance seeks to protect the water, biodiversity, territories and ways of life that depend on these ecosystems in Latin America, especially in Argentina, Bolivia and Chile.
With the aim to promote the protection and conservation of wetlands -as well as the water, biodiversity, territories and livelihoods of indigenous and peasant communities that depend on them- the Alliance for Andean Wetlands (Alianza por los Humedales Andinos) brings together the Fundación Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (FARN) and the PUCARÁ Assembly (Pueblos Catamarqueños en Resistencia y Autodeterminación), of Argentina; the Centro de Documentación e Información de Bolivia (CEDIB) and Empodérate, of Bolivia; ONG FIMA, Defensa Ambiental and Fundación Tantí, of Chile; and the Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA), a regional organization.
The Andean wetlands - including salt flats, lakes and lagoons - are recognized worldwide as ecosystems of high environmental and social significance. They are also extremely fragile due to their characteristics, whose central element is water, a common good that controls the environment and wildlife. Their vulnerability also rises from the threats they face, including the climate crisis and the negative impacts of extractive activities such as the mining of lithium, copper and other minerals considered "critical" for the transition to new forms of energy generation.
In this sense, the increase in demand for lithium in the global north has set in motion an accelerated process of extraction and production at a global level, focused on regions rich in this mineral, such as the Andean salt flats of Argentina, Bolivia and Chile, which are home to more than 53% of proven global reserves.
From November 30 to December 12, representatives from nearly 200 countries will meet in Dubai, United Arab Emirates during the twenty-eighth United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 28) to continue advancing the implementation of the Paris Agreement, which seeks to strengthen the global response to the climate emergency.The protection of wetlands is crucial in this task because they are ecosystems that act as natural carbon sinks, helping to mitigate the crisis.
Accelerating the energy transition will be one of the main lines of action at COP 28
Faced with this global trend, the alliance promotes a just, participatory and popular socio-ecological transition with a long-term vision, prioritizing integrated water management under a socio-environmental and climate justice approach. Thus, it supports and accompanies local communities and organizations in the care of Andean wetlands and in the construction of socioeconomic alternatives that go beyond mining extractivism.
The alliance also seeks to ensure the participation of communities and their access to complete, truthful and transparent information, as well as to provide information to the global society - involving organizations, States and the private sector - highlighting the value of the Andean wetlands and the multiple threats they face.
To achieve its objective, the alliance employs pedagogical, legal, research, advocacy, communication and mobilization strategies collectively and in dialogue with communities and organizations. Recognizing the differentiated impacts of the climate crisis on women, girls, sexual dissidents and other vulnerable groups, the alliance incorporates a gender perspective in all its activities.