Acting on Climate Vulnerability: Lessons and Best Practices from Quito, Ecuador
Quito is the capital city of Ecuador with a population of 2.7 million and an area of 143 square miles. Quito is particularly vulnerable to climate change and since 2009 has been pioneering programs to mitigate the effects of climate change. Quito’s programs have been expanded nationwide due to their success and are viewed as a model for other countries. Quito’s efforts have focused around its “Action Plan” developed in 2012. The Action Plan identified five key areas that would be most impacted by climate change: water, agriculture, biodiversity, public health, and natural event risks (such as forest fires). The action plan was developed to address three key barriers to climate mitigation actions:
- Limited sectoral coordination
- Gaps in data availability
- Limited capacity to handle climate change issues outside the municipal’s climate change unit
The Action Plan developed a number of programs. After several years of implementation at the municipal and regional level several programs were deemed the most impactful best practices. These are:
- Producing a report that identified the key focus areas most impacted by climate change. This report was then used to identify and connect local experts, key citizens, municipal departments, and private stakeholders to help construct policy. This communication increased participant buy-in and ownership.
- Funded research that identified groups most vulnerable to climate change. The municipal then contacted these groups and held stakeholder meetings to educate the groups on actionable steps to mitigate climate change. Notable groups included farmers and gender minorities. Outreach examples included instruction on sustainable irrigation practices.
- City-wide and group focused surveys were conducted to assess citizens beliefs surrounding climate impact. These beliefs were then addressed and gaps between beliefs and data-driven predictions were discussed.
- The creation of tailored climate indicators. Specific policymakers described previous policy indicators as opaque and untrustworthy. Research and data transparently connected local behaviors to climate vulnerabilities and mitigation techniques.
Some data and action items were deemed too long-term to be integral to the policy creation cycle, so they were excluded from immediate action plans but were maintained in municipal department cross-sectoral discussions.