Local communities propose nature-based solutions to mitigate climate change impacts in the Juan Fernandez Archipelago, Chile

Communities of the Juan Fernández Archipelago are collaborating in a project of UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme, supported by the Government of Flanders of the Kingdom of Belgium, to identify nature-based solutions that contribute to mitigating natural risks and vulnerabilities as well as the impacts of climate change in the region.

The Juan Fernández archipelago has a great biological significance. It was named a National Park in 1935 and a Biosphere Reserve in 1977. Thanks to the efforts of its community and the support of institutions, the Marine Protected Area of Multiple Uses and the Juan Fernandez Sea Marine Park were created, covering a total of 286,000 km2 of protected area. 

However, the islands are considered one of the most threatened ecosystems in the world, and their main threats are erosion, the advance of invasive exotic species, contamination by liquid and solid terrestrial waste, as well as climate change.

On August 12, 2021, the second participatory workshop was held in the framework of this project, which was attended by stakeholders from Robinson Crusoe and Alejandro Selkirk islands, as well as authorities, representatives of the fishing and tourism communities, neighbors' associations, local groups, educators and municipal officials.
During the workshop, participants worked in teams to identify and locate the "vulnerability hotspots" or areas where the greatest number of threats to climate and other risks are concentrated. The pilot zones for the project will be established in these identified areas.

Once the vulnerability diagnosis was completed, the workshop participants themselves proposed the first nature-based solutions, including sustainable agriculture for erosion control, ecosystem restoration, the construction of water reservoirs and the introduction of phyto-purification plants for watershed restoration. The importance of improving local planning and the need for a co-management governance figure for the development of this island territory were also highlighted.

The team in charge of project implementation is a group of island professionals - who have carried out a participatory coastal vulnerability mapping assessment.

For us, the participation of the community in the planning and decision-making processes is important, because the islanders are the experts on the social aspects or problems that are unique to Juan Fernández.
Carol Chamorro, local coordinator