Given their geographical location and heterogeneous topography, Ecuador and Peru are highly vulnerable to climate change impacts. Both countries are susceptible to natural disasters including floods, droughts, and landslides, whose frequency, severity, and impacts are compounded by the El Niño Southern Oscillation and will be amplified by increased climate change and variability. Glaciers, a main water source, are melting at accelerating rates due to increasing temperatures. Furthermore, both countries are characterized by the extreme diversity of climatic zones. Ecuador boasts an extraordinary array of geographical systems that range from high altitude glaciers to tropical rain forests in the Amazon upper tributaries to dry tropical forest on the Pacific Coast. Peru has a heterogeneous geographical system as well ranging from fragile mountain ecosystems to low-lying coastal areas. These ecosystems show greater sensitivity to climate change and are considered most likely to undergo rapid changes as a result of climate change. This high degree of exposure, combined with the two countries' dependence on agriculture, fishery, livestock, forestry, and water resources, which are particularly sensitive to climate change, further exacerbates their vulnerability to climate change. In particular agriculture, in both countries represents one of the main economic activities and it plays an essential role in the country's food security. Most of the farmers are smallholder farmers practicing rain-fed agriculture. Changes in temperatures and precipitation represent a serious threat to rural livelihood systems and food security. Climate change and its impacts are already evident and they represent one of the most urgent problems of these South American Countries.
The National Strategy on Climate Change adopted by the national governments of Ecuador and Peru prioritize the need to fight climate change by recognizing among other things: 1. The need to strengthening the national scientific capacity on climate observations and studies 2. Improvement and development of methodologies for vulnerability assessment, GHG emissions monitoring, and adaptation measures studies 3. Integrated assessment of climate change vulnerability on national priority sectors such as agriculture 4. Implementation of measures to mitigate GHG emissions, integrated planning, and implementation of adaptation actions with a focus on production zones important for national food security.
The need for technical expertise on climate change issues and the generation of skills and capacities of professionals who can provide solutions to climate change and its impacts is, therefore, an urgent need at different governance levels, from public to private sectors both in Ecuador and Peru.