Key regional water initiative targets Andean paramos
Eugenia Ponce is a Colombian environmental lawyer and regional adviser to the Quito, Ecuador-based Andean Paramo Project, a six-year, US$19 million initiative financed by the World Bank’s Global Environment Facility to protect paramos, the high mountain moorlands of the northern and central Andes. Formerly private secretary to Colombia’s environment minister and a member of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) Environmental Law Commission, Ponce is an expert on paramos, whose mist-shrouded lakes, bogs, and wet grasslands lie between cloud forests and the snow line. Paramos cover around 35,000 square kilometers in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela—the project’s target nations—and are crucial regulators and reservoirs of water for major rivers, including the Amazon. But with over 70% of the paramos degraded by human activity, Ponce fears for the future of the unique ecosystem. She spoke recently to EcoAméricas correspondent Steven Ambrus in Bogotá.