Climate change in Peru – Peruvian population learning to manage the consequences of climate change

Project completed
A man in traditional Peruvian clothing stands in open countryside in the Peruvian highlands, and looks up at the sky.
Silvero Choquenaira is also known as "the man who looks up into the sky". He is responsible for the weather station in Huacrahuacho and collects weather forecast data every day. © Antonio Escalante: Fabrica de Ideas/HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation © Fabrica de Ideas/HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation

Climate change is a great obstacle to development. In many places, it is jeopardising the progress that has been achieved to date. The Andean highlands of Peru are heavily affected by climate change. That is why the SDC is supporting a project in the country to secure the livelihoods of poor rural communities, and to strengthen their resilience to the effects of shifting weather patterns.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Climate change and environment
Environmental policy
01.05.2013 - 30.06.2017
CHF  5’568’712

Peru's continuing economic growth rate permits increased government spending towards closing equity gaps and enabling rural development processes through public policies and investment mechanisms. The regional governments of Cusco and Apurímac remain committed to adaptation, in a context of growing socio-environmental conflicts involving mining companies and communities.


Contribute to consolidating the livelihood basis and reducing the vulnerability of the population to climate change, with regard to those living in medium and high poverty levels in rural highland areas.

Target groups

The rural population of the Andean highlands, mostly poor, generally indigenous and mainly dependent on agriculture and livestock activities, who are sensitive to rising climate risks.


Expected results:  

  • Government entities will scale up adaptive responses through evidence-based public policy, generating inputs for the global dialogue.
  • The regional and local governments of Apurímac and Cusco will implement adaptation strategies effectively and in a concerted manner.
  • Rural Andean populations in prioritised areas will strengthen innovative and adaptive responses, providing evidence that is useful for decision-making on public policy.
  • The Universities of Cusco and Apurímac will generate applied research and train professionals that meet regional demands for managing climate change adaptation.

Results from previous phases:  

  • Information base on vulnerability and impacts of climate change generated at local and regional level with the involvement of multiple stakeholders; opportunities for dialogue were created at regional and national level.
  • Two regional and three local governments have strategies for facing climate change.
  • As a pilot project, 1 208 families in 18 communities in two water catchment areas adopted adaptive practices in natural resource management (water, pastures, soil management) and agricultural production.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
Private sector
Swiss Academic and Research Institution
Swiss Non-profit Organisation
  • HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation
  • Swiss Private Sector
  • Swiss Universities or FHS
  • PACC is implemented by a consortium led by Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation, supported by scientific institutions in Peru and a Swiss scientific consortium under the lead of the University of Zurich.

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    5’568’712 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    5’578’846
Project phases

Phase 4 01.05.2013 - 30.06.2017   (Completed)

Lettuce-growing on a Peruvian mountaintop – which previously seemed unthinkable owing to the altitude and low temperatures – is possible in Santa Rosa, a small village at around 4,600 metres above sea level. For several years now, residents have also been growing onions, white cabbage, carrots and broccoli, alongside the lettuce. A variety of vegetables now appear regularly on Santa Rosa's tables, thanks to small covered greenhouses, and the use of home-made organic fertilisers. The families cultivating the vegetable plots are able to eat more healthily, sell their surplus, and thereby increase their incomes, while helping other village residents to follow a balanced diet.

This is just one of the successful climate change adaptation measures that the SDC has introduced in the Peruvian highlands as part of the PACC (Programa Adaptación al Cambio Climático) project. Peru is regarded as one of the countries the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. International climate scientists expect temperatures in the Andean highlands to rise by 1.6° Celsius by 2030. Increasingly heavy precipitation, which extends beyond the current rainy season, is also likely. In addition, all of the glaciers at an altitude of less than 5,000 metres may disappear completely by as early as 2025. Furthermore, forecasts indicate that, in forty years' time, the Andean highlands will have only 60% of their current level of water resources. All of these factors will have a crucial impact on the country's economic capacity, in terms of the production of food, energy and other goods, for example.

Improving adaptation to climate change

Climate change in the Peruvian Andes is particularly visible in the form of rapid glacier melt and an increase in extreme weather events, such as ground frost, drought or torrential rain, which threaten the livelihoods of the local communities. The PACC project builds capacity among the population and the authorities at the local, regional and national levels, enabling them to adapt to climate change as it affects water, food security and natural hazards. One element of this is the ability to assess more effectively how the climate is evolving, and what effects this will have. This is to be achieved through improved scientific data-collection and climate-modelling, which will improve forecasting reliability and enable action to be planned in advance. It is particularly important to the SDC that these analyses should not be produced on the basis of scientific data alone, but should also factor the first-hand experience of local people. The idea behind this is to strengthen dialogue and understanding between scientists, practitioners, authorities and local communities.

Local, regional and national adaptation strategies

A sound basis of knowledge about the effects of climate change has been acquired and collated since the PACC project began. It has provided the foundation for discussions with decision-makers at local, regional and national levels about strategies to deal with climate change. Two regional and three local governments have since developed adaptation strategies with PACC support. In a pilot project, 1,208 Peruvian families in two water catchment areas introduced practices to ensure the sustainable use of water, pasture and other land, and for agricultural production. They improved the storage capacity of their reservoirs and the irrigation systems leading from them, periodically closed off their pastures and thus increased soil fertility, and grew vegetables organically. Schools are also raising awareness about sustainable natural resource management, by teaching children to use meteorological instruments, or having them look after their own vegetable plots, for example.

Up to the end of 2016, the SDC's focus within the PACC project will be on putting strategies into effect and ensuring the broad adoption of adaptive practices. It has also initiated applied research projects with the Universities of Cusco and Apurímac to train Peruvian experts in adaptation to climate change. Furthermore, PACC's well-documented findings are feeding into the political dialogue at national and international levels. This will allow the experience gained in the Peruvian Andes to be applied to other vulnerable mountain regions.


PACC picture gallery © Antonio Escalante: Fabrica de Ideas/HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation

Yachaykusun – Lessons on climate change from the Andes

© Antonio Escalante: Fabrica de Ideas/HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation

A farmer who has been trained to use meteorological stations and collect climate data. A family which has increased their water reservoir's storage capacity, thereby helping to ensure their own water security and that of a further 40 individuals. A school which cultivates a vegetable plot, recycles waste and keeps the local community informed via the radio about environmental conservation. These and other stories make up the book entitled: "Yachaykusun – Lessons on climate change from the Andes", which the SDC has published as part of the PACC project. The book reports on families and communities living in the Peruvian highlands, who tell of the daily challenges they face as a result of climate change. Striking pictures illustrate their stories.

"Yachaykusun – Lessons on climate change from the Andes"



Video: “Yachaykusun – Lessons on climate change from the Andes”: (10:11’)