Describe your implementation:
TMI first gained an understanding of local priorities through consultations with community assemblies. TMI trained local researchers to engage in collegial dialogues with external specialists through diagnostic field trips and brainstorming sessions for solutions. Hybrid green-grey infrastructure solutions adapted from ancient technologies were co-designed by participatory action-research groups and external scientists and were presented to the community for discussion, with a special effort to engage youth through social communication activities. The hydraulic infrastructure was installed simultaneously with capacity building for sustainable management of the restored puna and the drafting of community management plans.
Our solution was readily adopted because it directly addressed a high-priority, self-identified community concern. Its design drew from intimate local knowledge of the social and bio-physical contexts of the puna. For example, the use of PVC was proposed by local researchers as a material that would withstand the humid conditions of the puna with relatively little maintenance.
Social communication activities enabled participation through revitalizing a sense of place and community.
Our key to success was the active participation of local stakeholders in all steps of the project design and implementation. This resulted in increased ownership, improved confidence to apply local knowledge, and concrete implementation of a solution that benefited the entire community.
Understanding and navigating the deeper layers of power structures within a community can be extremely difficult. A poor understanding of this context can easily create distrust and derail implementation of solutions that involve collective resources and actions. We built trust within the community by empowering local research groups, respecting local authorities, and allowing them to lead resolution of emerging conflicts over access and use of water and grasslands.
Key partners engaged in the development and documentation of the solution include:
1. Rural communities were our main institutional partner. Their strengthened capacity for successfully managing communal natural resources will have significant implications for rehabilitation of puna ecosystems and their sustainable use thereafter.
2. The National Protected Areas System of Peru (SERNANP) and the Nor Yauyos Cochas Landscape Reserve (NYCLR). By engaging these national government bodies, the tested solution had an opportunity to be eventually replicated in other mountain protected areas. As part of our project, results in Nor Yauyos were shared with other mountain protected areas of Peru.
3. District authorities were fully informed and participated in the process by providing materials and financial resources.
4. Earth Science groups, like the Grassland Ecology Laboratory of Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina and independent geohydrology and economy specialists provided a scientific approach and methods. By documenting baselines and monitoring initial results with scientifically validated methods, and by conducting cost-benefit analysis, these groups helped develop a solution that can be more easily promoted within other sectors.
5. Ministry of Environment (MINAM). The solution—both process and impacts—was documented in detail and highly aligned with national policies and processes, as part of an initiative led by UNEP, PNUD and IUCN.