Ban Ki-moon Visits Women-led Biodiversity Project in Peru
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who was in Peru to open the 15th session of the UNIDO General Conference in Lima, took the opportunity to visit one of GEF SGP’s biodiversity projects in El Agustino. Manuel Pulgar, Minister of Environment and Emilia Bustamante, National Coordinator for SGP Peru, joined Ban Ki-moon on the tour. The project stood out for its skillful combination of endangered species conservation, innovative water rehabilitation technologies and women’s empowerment.
During his visit, SG Ban Ki-moon learned how the women revived an indigenous species called “Tara”, a plant that has high economic and medicinal value and is good in securing the soil and preventing landslides. By choosing to cultivate Tara, the women rescued and conserved ancestral knowledge about this endangered native species. To date, the women managed to afforest 17,900 square meters of land with more than 2,500 Tara trees and created a nursery, where they planted 1,000 aloe plants.
A particular notable aspect was the women’s creation of an artificial wetland – or biofilter - for decontaminating the polluted water of the Rimac River and irrigating the nursery plants. The biofilter has drawn widespread attention, attracting visitors from various parts of the country to learn more about this innovative technology. In addition, 100 environmental agents were trained in the production of organic fertilizers, seed cultivation, maintenance of nursery species and processing of Tara.
SGP provided technical and financial support to this women-led project to rehabilitate degraded land along the banks and hillsides of the río Rímac in the region of El Agustino. The area had been highly vulnerable to landslides due to lack of vegetation cover and occasional rises in the river level during the raining season in the Andean Highlands. In addition, the river’s water had also become increasingly polluted as garbage and transient people settled along the banks.
As it is often common in SGP projects, this biodiversity project has had multiple effects on other areas of work that are usually interlinked at the community level. In this instance the project not only managed to rescue a native species but also helped address land degradation and the potential damages of climate change impacts.
After the visit to the project, the SG Ban Ki-moon was impressed by the strong women’s leadership and achievement and remarked that "by planting the [species] Tara along the banks of this river, you can really help fight the impact of climate change".
A video on the visit can also be viewed at:
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About the GEF
The GEF unites 183 countries in partnership with international institutions, civil society organizations (CSOs), and the private sector to address global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives. Today the GEF is the largest public funder of projects to improve the global environment. An independently operating financial organization, the GEF provides grants for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants.
Since 1991, GEF has achieved a strong track record with developing countries and countries with economies in transition, providing $11.5 billion in grants and leveraging $57 billion in co-financing for over 3,215 projects in over 165 countries. For more information, visit www.thegef.org.
About the GEF Small Grants Programme
Launched in 1992, GEF SGP supports activities of nongovernmental and community-based organizations in developing countries towards climate change abatement, conservation of biodiversity, protection of international waters, reduction of the impact of persistent organic pollutants and prevention of land degradation while generating sustainable livelihoods.
Since its creation, GEF SGP has provided over 16,500 grants to communities in over 125 developing countries. Funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) as a corporate programme, GEF SGP is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on behalf of the GEF partnership, and is executed by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).