Funded by:

Funders Partners:
Under the project "Strengthening the resilience against risks and climate trends in indigenous communities dependent on tropical glaciers in Bolivia"


Executed by:


In early September the “Second International Conference on Climate Change and Receding Glaciers ” was held in the national Sajama Park in Bolivia. The Conference also included participants from other Andean National Parks such as the Lauca Park in Chile and the Vilacota Park in Peru. Participants worked in groups focused on different topics and drafted a Declaration...... Read More


About the Project


  • Information
  • Objectives and Action Lines
  • Intervention Area


Project: “Adaptation to Climate Change in Bolivian Andean Communities that Depend on Tropical Glaciers”

Financial Institution

• Nordic environment Finance Corporation - NEFCO (Nordic Climate Facility - NCF)
• Christian Aid

Implementing Entities

• Agua Sustentable
• Diakonia

Implementation Period

February 2011 - January 2014

Project Coordinators

• Coordinator Agua Sustentable: Lic. Carlos Carafa


General Objective

Contribute to the reduction of the impacts of climate change in Bolivia, in a participatory and sustainable way, in the context of strengthening the State and the recognition of the economic, social, cultural and environmental rights of Bolivian women and men.

Specific Objective

Build a participatory strategy for adaptation to climate change, with an emphasis on tropical glacier retreat in Bolivia, specifically in the Sajama National Park and the glaciers of the Illimani and Mururata, which have an impact on the municipalities of Turco, Curahuara de Carangas and Palca. This strategy must promote the sustainability of production systems, drinking water systems and environmental sustainability, based on the generation of knowledge, design and/or implementation of concrete adaptation projects and the construction of public policies at the local and national level.

Action Lines

• To generate a cross-disciplinary knowledge base by integrating natural sciences, social sciences and traditional customs.
• To determine the glacier-hydro-climatic relationships of water and its dependence on climate variability and climate change.
• To develop adaptation plans that are technically viable, socially acceptable and that take into account gender equality.
• To implement pilot adaptation projects, in a specific and priority manner, and to design large-scale projects.
• Development of a Framework for Differentiated Vulnerability Assessment and adaptation actions.
• Dissemination in events at the academic, political and community level, nationally and internationally
• Promoting the strengthening of the State through the proposition of public policy, adapted to the reality of the communities that depend on the Andes and other tropical glaciers


Intervention Area

Sajama National Park

The Park is located between 17°55'00'' - 18°15'00'' latitude and 68°40'00'' -69 10'00''-longitude, and depends on the Sajama glacier. The average altitude of 3,900 meters above sea level, and is typically representative of the Andean communities of the Western Cordillera of Bolivia. It consists of the municipalities of Curahuara of Carangas and Turco in the Sajama Province, Oruro Department. It is a homogeneous ecosystem of the highlands where traditional social organization, as well as traditional production systems are strong.

There are 14 ayllus (the traditional organization system) organized in communities, with a total population of 9,100 people. The production system is mainly oriented to raising camelids (alpaca and vicuña) and to a lesser degree to the sheep, cows and small agriculture (mostly non-mechanized). Being a National Park, a share of the revenue depends on tourism. In this area, there are almost no previous studies.

In the area of Sajama, families and communities have expressed concern about the phenomena they observe. They are experiencing extreme temperatures along with strong variations in precipitation patterns and glacier water discharge, which impacts on the available irrigation shortages, as well as access to clean water. The wetlands they depend on are reducing their size, which seems contradictory because they receive more water. The locals have observed these changes for some time and are worried about the reasons for these events and want to know what they can do about it. They demand adaption action, but little knowledge is available regarding glacier hydrology and management of wetlands.

The micro basin of the River Sajhuaya

This micro basin is located in the humid lands to the East of the Andes, and depends on one of the branches of the Illimani glacier. Unlike in the Sajama area, the basin runs from 4.000 to 2.650 m.a.s.l. in a linear extension of only 5 Km, showing a great heterogeneity of the mountain chains. The municipality of Palca is at the head of the basin head and includes four representative communities organized in community unions, dedicated mainly to agriculture from the lowest point to the highest, with little or no livestock.

This is a typical market-oriented area, where irrigated agriculture dependent on water from the glacier has increased strongly, especially during the last two decades. The area has an average temperature of 6°C and rain usually falls as snow. Therefore vegetation growth is limited, being slower than normal. The predominant vegetation in the basin is the Huari coca, pupusa, zapatilla, cuncuna, ihurpa and paita.


WEB Design: Mauricio Arriaza- copyrigth 2012 Agua Sustentable