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CARE’s Glaciares+ project works with people and communities so they can adapt to climate change, reduce the risks from melting glaciers, and identify opportunities to improve water resources management in Peru.

The project focuses on the basins of the Santa River in Ancash, the Vilcanota-Urubamba River in Cusco, and the Cañete River in Lima, Peru.


71% of the world’s tropical glaciers are found in Peru. Due to the impact of climate change, the total area of glaciers in the snow-capped mountain ranges in Peru has been reduced by 43% over the last 40 years. The rapid retreat of glaciers forms new lakes, which can be unstable and cause natural disasters such as floods. Glaciers are also a source of water during the dry season; this water is used for agriculture, energy production, and drinking water. Glacial retreat means reduced and less reliable water supply, particularly during the dry season. Although the new lakes can amplify natural hazards to downstream populations, they can also become tourist attractions and generate new possibilities for water management at local, regional, or basin level as well as supply benefits like hydropower and agriculture.

of the world's tropical glaciers are found in Peru

of the world's tropical glaciers are found in Peru

The total area of glaciers in Peru has been reduced by 43% over the last 40 years

To effectively reduce people’s vulnerability, adaptation to climate change must be part of a holistic response aimed at building the resilience of communities to withstand shocks and stresses. Community-based adaptation (CBA) requires an integrated approach that combines ancestral and traditional knowledge with technical and scientific information to improve livelihoods and well-being while strengthening adaptive capacity to meet new challenges. The CBA process comprises four interrelated strategies:

  • Jointly promoting climate-resilient livelihoods and income diversification while also strengthening planning capacity and improving risk management.
  • Risk reduction strategies to reduce the impact of hazards, especially on vulnerable individuals and households.
  • Capacity building of civil society and local public institutions so that they can better support communities, households, and individuals in their adaptation efforts.
  • Advocacy and social mobilization to address the underlying causes of vulnerability, such as poor governance, lack of control over resources, or limited access to basic services.


Recognizing the importance of an enabling environment for effective CBA, the Glaciares+ strategy is not limited to promoting change at the community level. CARE’s approach also seeks to influence policy at the regional, national, and international levels using community-based expertise and models. This involves evidence-based advocacy from the field, as well as constructive participation in decision-making processes.

Risk management and opportunities activities:

  • Multi-purpose and multi-sectoral public-private investment projects that apply adaptive capacity strategies and take advantage of opportunities offered by glacier retreat.
  • Strengthen mechanisms for disaster risk management and adaptation to climate change.
  • Inform and sensitize government and communities about the importance, impacts, and opportunities of glacial risk management.
  • Strengthen the management capacity of institutions linked to glaciers and their impact.

Institutional outcome activities:

  • Promote the implementation of regional and national adaptation and risk management measures using a watershed approach.
  • Identify opportunities for sustainable use of water resources, in cooperation with academia, and the private and public sectors.
  • Promote climate change adaptation measures related to the energy sector.

Capacity building:

  • Strengthen public and private stakeholders to generate and apply knowledge and scientific research. Develop and promote joint research and publications at regional and international levels

Program achievements

Over 70,000 people are now able to reduce the risks that climate change causes in their lives. They have created hazard and evacuation maps and the first ever real-time flood early warning system in South America. This early warning system also lets leaders and researchers see what is happening to the glaciers.

More than 200 new lakes have formed new water resources that are used for drinking water and agriculture and managed through public investment projects. Glaciares+ also worked with Peruvian research institutions, one of which compiled and located possible future glacial lakes and another of which estimated the potential socio-economic loss associated with glacial retreat and water loss due to climate change – a first for Peru.



people are able to reduce the risks that climate change causes in their lives.

The importance of Glaciares+

The Glaciares+ project combines ancestral knowledge with technical and scientific information to help people – especially women – protect themselves from the impacts of climate change. Glaciares+ works to help public institutions take leadership in promoting adaptive measures and risk management associated with glaciers. It also coordinates with the private sector to adapt to climate change and take advantage of opportunities offered by glacial retreat and builds evidence by working with researchers, companies, and governments to create new strategies to adapt to climate change.