Peru’s transformation over the past 15 years represents a remarkable success story. Peru has emerged as a strong, stable force in South America and a vital ally to the United States in the region. Nonetheless, even as Peru emerges economically and politically, successes can mask persistent structural challenges.
As one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to the impacts of a changing climate, Peru faces a water-security crisis. Water-regulating ecosystems, such as wetlands, native grasslands, and mountain glaciers, have been directly affected, decreasing water availability and increasing the risk of glacial lake floods, extreme droughts, erosion, and landslides. In 2017, successive states of emergencies—first drought and forest fires in northern Peru and then floods and landslides along the Pacific Coast sharply demonstrated Peru’s vulnerability to hydrological and climatic extremes. In addition, rising temperatures have resulted in an unprecedented melting of Peru’s glaciers, creating a short-term boom for downstream agriculture but depleting long-term water storage.
USAID activities in Peru focus on building the country’s capacity to adapt to climate change and improve water security. Programs such as the Natural Infrastructure for Water Security project support cost-effective “green infrastructure” projects to manage fluctuations in the water supply.
USAID is also helping build Peru’s capacity in climate science and innovation. USAID facilitates professional exchanges between Peruvian and American scientists from the National Institute for Agrarian Innovation in Peru, the Geological Institute of Peru, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Research Service to identify innovative research-based strategies to address the effects of climate change. Equipped with accurate data, new methodologies, and monitoring capabilities, USAID supports regional governments to inclusively plan and manage water resources.