This project will be implemented by UNEP. The lead executing agency is CONDESAN, who will establish a Central Coordination Unit (CCU) consisting of the project coordination and administration. A team of three technical advisers will prepare the methodology, tools and strategies and will support the execution of the different components of the project during the initial phase of project execution. CONDESAN is responsible for the overall project execution and will directly execute the international activities (international plan of action, Paramo information mechanism), actively promote the Andean collaboration among the countries, assure the communication within the project and maintain contacts with international stakeholders. Through subcontracts, CONDESAN will delegate the execution of the components at national level to the national executing agencies (NEA). The NEAs are responsible for the institutional coordination and the execution of the project activities at national level, for which they receive assistance of CONDESAN and the technical advisers. Each NEA will perform country coordination in their respective countries and will contract local organizations/institutions for the execution of component one (site management). Together with these organizations, care will be taken that activities at the PIS are executed with broad local participation. The University of Amsterdam and The University of Wisconsin provide technical assistance to the transversal investigation activities. The Central Coordination Unit and one representative of each NEA constitute the Coordination Committee that is in continuous contact about project execution. The entire project will be supervised by a steering committee (SC), consisting of the task manager of UNEP, the coordinator of CONDESAN, the project director, the directors (or their representatives) of the NEA, and the Environment Commissioner of CAN.
The Executing agencies are lead agencies at Andean level in Paramo conservation and management. All NEA have a long record of projects in different aspects of Paramo (research, participatory conservation, policy, education etc.), the international universities are outstanding in Paramo ecology (University of Amsterdam) and Andean agriculture and geography (Wisconsin). CONDESAN is a consortium that includes all these organizations as well as several other NGO, international and local universities with valuable experience in Paramo and international and national research institutes with high technical knowledge (CIAT, CIP). Summarized institutional résumés are found in annex 6.
6.LINKAGE TO OTHER INITIATIVES (GEF AND NON GEF)
This project is based on the experience with several other projects on Paramo conservation in the region, most of them executed by project partners. The general structure of the project and many of the tools and approaches that will be applied in PMP, awareness raising, policy development and institutional collaboration were developed in the Ecuador Paramo Project (executed with Dutch government funds by the University of Amsterdam, EcoCiencia and TMI). The international institutional collaboration and the international data base on Paramo were established by CONDESAN and the initial projects of the International Paramo Working Group (Paramo Atlas project and Andean wetlands project, financed by the Netherlands Committee for IUCN and the Global Peatland Initiative). Research experience of the Universidad de los Andes in Venezuela, Universidad Nacional in Colombia, the University of Amsterdam and many other Andean and international universities forms the basis of the research activities of this project. During the PDF-B phase, a research workshop was organized in Cali, Colombia (March 2004) in which over 30 renowned Paramo specialists evaluated the state of knowledge on the ecosystem. Finally, the basis of the practical management of the Paramo is sustained by over one hundred local Paramo management and conservation projects and initiatives by farmer communities, local NGOs or local governmental agencies that were contacted during PDF-B.
In addition to the integration with the D523 and the IAB, the project will collaborate with CAN-OTCA to apply their collaboration agreement on the Andes-Amazon region. At Andean level, this project will coordinate activities with IUCN that, among others through their Water and Nature Initiative, coordinates the design of the high Andean Wetlands strategy, recognized by RAMSAR. The project is in agreement with the conservation strategy of the Northern Andes Ecoregional Complex, prepared by WWF, and the international Conservation Corridors of Conservation International. All the project sites are situated in the priority areas identified by WWF and in three CI conservation corridors including Paramo. Regular strategic coordination meetings with these international organizations (IUCN, RAMSAR bureau, CI, WWF) should guarantee efficient communication and collaboration. During PDF-B, CONDESAN and the NAE established contact with all local initiatives at the PIM and with investigation activities in Paramo to guarantee their participation during the execution of the project.
At a national level, in Colombia this project is complementary to two full size GEF projects in the Andean region12. During PDF-B implementation agreements were made to avoid duplication of efforts and to optimize resources. As executor of the umbrella GEF project in Colombia, the IAvH conducts periodic events for information exchange and the discussion of specific outputs and project results. The IAvH also facilitates the link with Colombia’s Clearing House Mechanism. Most of the regional environment corporations (CARs) in departments with Paramo are currently elaborating Paramo management strategies. This project will support five CAR directly at the PIS, and another 18 indirectly in this labor through SINA.
In Ecuador, the existence of the National Paramo Working Group (GTP) in which all institutional Paramo stakeholders participate will guarantee the maintenance of a close relationship and coordination with most Paramo stakeholders (governmental, non-governmental and communal) and their initiatives. One full size GEF project is in execution in Ecuador13. In Paramo, this project is implemented in the Cotacachi-Cayapas reserve, which is in the same regional division of MAE as the Chiles site. Herewith, a good scenario for complementarity and replication is created. A close adjustment with other EcoCiencia Paramo-related initiatives will be assured, especially with the Biodiversity, Paramo and Other Fragile Ecosystems Conservation Program (CBP) executed with Dutch funds. Direct collaboration will be provided in policy, training and local government support activities, as well as with information interchange and applied investigation activities. CAMAREN, who is executing a Paramo capacity building program since 1998, helped the project to direct the training component during the PDF-B phase and will be directly involved with the execution of component three.
In Perú one full size GEF project14 has impact on Paramo but only at the southernmost transition zone to Puna (Huascarán). INRENA with the support of Belgium Cooperation is going to implement a project to preserve the biodiversity of an important natural protected area including Paramos: Santuario Nacional Tabaconas Namballe. Tabaconas Namballe is the southernmost border of the Piura-Loja trans-boundary PIS. This project will also coordinate activities with two projects about mountain forest supported by the Swiss Development Cooperation (Gestión Social de los Bosques Nativos Andinos and the Polylepis Corredor).
Also for Peru, there exist a World Bank proposal working on protected areas15. There is only marginally potential overlap with UNEP Proyecto Paramo Andino (PPA). The WB proposal is focused on PAs and on government support, while the PPA proposal is focused on participatory management, community support and direct action in Paramo sites; not necessarily in PA. There is a small risk of overlapping in the goals of policy-institutional support and technology transfer-capacity building. Both projects (PPA and WB) mention institutional support in a decentralized environment, information management and capacity building. However, the WB´s policy component focuses on institutional reorganization while PPA identifies tools and policy instruments. In terms of information management, the WB basically focuses on general information in Peru, while PPA will manage information on all Páramo in the Andes, having only a slight overlap of interest with WB. Finally, both projects have PA personnel and local NGO as target groups for capacity building, but we foresee different themes in the capacity building programmes of the two projects. UNEP does not foresee difficulties in identifying complementary actions and synergies between projects provided there exists a regular communication and information exchange between them.”
In Venezuela there is one GEF in its PDF-B phase16. A joint strategy for project implementation was presented at pipeline entry and coordination has continued thereafter. The project will have an active participation in the inter-institutional commissions for sustainable management of the Chama and Motatán water basins. The project will facilitate the design and implementation of policies for headwater conservation in the region. In the area of capacity building the project will collaborate with FAO/MARN/Ministry of Agriculture in the program for integrated sustainable potato production in the Venezuelan Andes. This project will collaborate as a regional Andean partner for MARN (Vice-ministry of Environmental Conservation) in the implementation of the Project “Ecological Systems of Venezuela” and other initiatives lead by MARN such as the Biocommerce project. In association with RAMSAR´s focal point in Venezuela (MARN) the project will collaborate in an Expert Group for High Andean Wetlands in Venezuela. Close collaboration with ICAE’s research activities in the Andes is guaranteed by NAE.
Coordination mechanism among Paramo initiatives. The coordination between on-going initiatives in Paramo will take place through the project work on a Paramo Information System and the establishment of Paramo Working Groups. Stakeholders have requested the establishment of these working groups, which will operate at different levels (local, national, regional and international) to interchange experiences and information. Projects at local level are included in local stakeholder alliances. Regional and national NGOs with Paramo projects (GEF and non-GEF) would form part of the national Paramo working groups. At the international level, the information on ongoing activities will be based in the Paramo Information System. Thus, the means for exchanging information within these groups will depend on the level at which they operate. Local and national groups will have greater opportunities for regular meetings while regional and international groups will use newsletters and the Paramo website portal. In addition, regular meetings will be organized with international NGOs that have committed their Andean conservation initiatives to the project (IUCN, WWF, CI, TNC) and with CAN. In all these platforms, a continuous analysis and monitoring of potential collaboration and agreements for joint execution of activities will take place.