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Think tanks in Latin America have major role to play on climate change


By Guy Edwards and Susanna Mage

Key Points

  1. 23 out of 79 (29%) think tanks from Latin America identified in the University Of Pennsylvania study have programs, projects or publications (PPPs) relating to climate change.
  2. Brazil has the highest total number of think tanks (7) with PPPs on climate change. Mexico (4) and Argentina (3) follow.
  3. Latin American think tanks can play a vital role in building a new narrative for climate action and ensuring its place on political agendas, party manifestos and government policy.
  4. Governments in Latin America could do a better job at ensuring the inclusion of think tanks and other organizations in the formulation, implementation and monitoring of climate policies and related debates.
  5. A report focusing on the details of these PPPs would make an important contribution to allow fellow think tanks, researchers, donors, government and NGOs to compare research findings and to locate potential partners on climate change.
  6. Organizations that conduct work on climate change but do not explicitly state the link on their websites may consider updating the descriptions of these programs and be more explicit about any PPPs relevant to climate change.

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Challenges for a Climate Compatible Development: How to strengthen agricultural, livestock and forestry public policies (2013)


This policy brief emerges from a process of analysis of the status and quality of the public policies on climate change and development in ten Latin American countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Uruguay, Colombia, El Salvador and Paraguay. It suggests that policies generated should have quality in the design, be implemented effectively, and guarantee institutional strengthening, greater awareness through social communication, and political and social support, for achieving its goals. It observes that combing integrated climate policies to sectoral and macroeconomic policies from each country is necessary. This will help to prioritize the climate agenda and include a comprehensive global and regional approach. It also emphasizes the importance of working collaboratively between public and private institutions with a multilevel approach. These recommendations look to promote the legitimacy, sustainability and real impact of policies.


The Platform launches reports on climate change policies in 10 Latin American countries


The Latin American Platform on Climate (known by its Spanish acronym PCL) has published a report on the state and quality of public policies on climate change and development in Latin America, particularly those focused on agriculture and forestry.  This report is the product of an initiative by the PCL based on 10 national reports for countries in the region (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay).  All the reports, both national and regional, are available here in Spanish. An English version of the regional report only can be downloaded here.

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Call for expressions of interest: State of the art public policies workshop in Lima


The Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) aims to help decision-makers in developing countries design and deliver climate compatible development. CDKN does this by providing demand-led research and technical assistance, and channeling the best available knowledge on climate change and development to support policy processes at the country level.

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Indigenous Knowledge and Climate Change Adaptation in the Peruvian Andes (2012)


Indigenous peoples have extensive knowledge of their local environment and this knowledge can be a valuable tool for climate change adaptation. Unfortunately, indigenous knowledge is rapidly being lost as a result of globalization, out-migration, and the continued marginalization and impoverishment of indigenous peoples. Through the lens of three case studies from the Peruvian Andes, this paper by Emily Kirkland, Brown University, demonstrates the irreplaceable role that indigenous knowledge can play in adaptation to climate change, as well as the crucial contribution outside actors can play in preserving, restoring and disseminating this knowledge.


Latin American governments and civil society combine forces at COP17


The COP17 was a watershed moment for Latin American civil society participation in the UNFCCC negotiations. Civil society organizations (CSOs) actively engaged with governments at the talks and, in turn, governments made efforts to reach out to civil society. This increased level of exchange can be observed on two levels.

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Latin American civil society builds bridges at the COP17 in Durban


Today, at the COP17, a group of Latin American platforms, networks and fora organized by the Building Bridges initiative met with delegations from Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru and Panama to discuss the primary issues under negotiation including the longevity of the Kyoto Protocol, designing the Green Climate Fund and adaptation.

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Books on Latin America and the Caribbean and climate change and the environment


The following book list includes texts focusing on Latin America and the Caribbean and climate change and the environment. The books address some of the most critical socio-environmental issues of the day with important implications for regional and national debates on climate. In the build up to the Rio+20 Conference next year, Latin American civil society organizations and regional and international networks are attempting to make this conference relevant and establish a new and revitalized agenda on sustainable development. These books can make a valuable contribution to that endeavour.

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Prizes, Pastures and Adaptation


The following interview was conducted by Emily Kirkland, Brown University, who is currently in Peru researching adaptation to climate change in local communities as part of the Watson Institute’s AT&T New Media Fellowship Program.

Emily spoke with Willem van Immerzeel, who runs a Cuzco based NGO called Pachamama Raymi (“Mother Earth Festival” in Quechua), which uses contests, prizes, and peer-to-peer education to encourage positive change in Andean communities. The theme of adaptation to climate change fits neatly into its existing work, which focuses on reforestation and pasture management.

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Latin America can confront climate change by embracing digital age


The 2010 Climate Change Conference in Cancun was an important step on the road to achieving a global deal on climate change. Many important issues, such as the $30 billion fund for the period 2010-2012, or the issue of deforestation, which is so important for Latin America need to be stressed.  Much of this success was due to the excellent work done by the Mexican Presidency.  Their main achievement was to reopen meaningful negotiations towards the COP17 in South Africa this December.

With current emission reduction pledges significantly below what is required, the world could be looking at severe temperature increases this century, which could potentially reverse the hard won gains in global prosperity and jeopardize the development opportunities for vulnerable communities everywhere.

The devastating floods in Australia, Colombia and Brazil cannot be linked directly to climate change with any real assurance, but they do provide a glimpse into the future where we might lurch from one horrific natural disaster to another.  Glacial melt in the Andes is already happening, and is likely to cause dire water shortages for millions and disrupt vital energy and agricultural systems.

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