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Climate change adaptation of the tourism sector in the Bolivian Andes
2016-2-8, Kaenzig, Raoul, Rebetez, Martine, Serquet, Gaelle
Over the last 40 years, warmer temperatures have caused a considerable decrease in snow cover on glaciers and high rates of glacial melt, particularly in tropical mountains. In the Bolivian Andes, the Chacaltaya glacier (5400 masl) had been a tourist destination known as the highest ski slope in the world since 1939. As a result of climate change, skiing has not been possible after 1987 and the glacier definitely disappeared in 2009. However, since 2005, the place has become a new attraction for tourists. Travel agencies in La Paz now offer day trips to the Chacaltaya site. In order to understand the present attraction of the site and its potential for reproduction elsewhere, 25 semi-structured interviews were conducted with various categories of stakeholders involved in the tourism industry in La Paz, and archives and images were analysed. Our results show that the multifunctional character of this tourist site, including easy access to a summit, beautiful views, acclimatisation to altitude and opportunity to experience snow, are key factors in its renewed attraction for visitors, together with, to a lesser extent, the incentive of being able to watch a famous and evident full disappearance of a glacier and former ski slope. The stakeholders' groups share general views and perceptions about environmental changes and about the qualities of the site, but they also differ in terms of projects and evaluation of potential attractiveness. In particular, the development of the visibility of climate change impacts on mountain environment is valued by experts or by members of the Andean Club, but not by travel agencies. The example of Chacaltaya shows that multifunctional tourist sites may still be attractive in the future.
Représentation médiatique des réfugiés climatiques
2015, Kaenzig, Raoul
Depuis une vingtaine d’années, ceux que l’on nomme les « réfugiés climatiques» drainent l’attention des milieux académiques, des autorités publiques ainsi que des médias. Incarnant le « visage humain du changement climatique », cette catégorie de personnes est souvent présentée dans la presse par l’intermédiaire d’études de cas emblématiques. C’est par exemple le cas de la communauté de Khapi, située au pied des Andes boliviennes. En effet, différents médias internationaux (The New York Times, CNN, BBC, etc.) se sont intéressés au phénomène du retrait glaciaire dans cette région montagneuse et les villageois y sont présentés comme victimes du changement climatique, n’ayant souvent pas d’autre choix que de quitter leurs terres. Cet article s’intéresse aux discours portant sur ce village ainsi que sur les processus permettant d’expliquer cet engouement médiatique. L’analyse repose d’une part, sur l’examen d’un corpus d’articles de presse qui évoque cette population et d’autre part, sur un travail de terrain qui comporte des entretiens approfondis avec les acteurs qui prennent part au processus de médiatisation (journalistes, membre d’ONG, experts et habitants de la région). Cette recherche permet de mettre en évidence le rôle et les agendas d’acteurs impliqués dans le processus de médiatisation. En donnant voix aux habitants, ceux dont les témoignages sont relatés dans les médias, l’étude permet d’aller au delà de l’image simplificatrice et misérabiliste que l’on affecte souvent à ces témoins du changement climatique.
Impacts of Outmigration on Land Management in a Nepali Mountain Area
2016, Schwilch, Gudrun, Sudmeier-Rieux, Karen, Jaquet, Stéphanie, Kaenzig, Raoul
This study examines the impacts of migration on land management in a mountain area of Nepal, complemented by insights from a smaller case study in Bolivia. Migration to cities and abroad increasingly leaves behind fragmented families and the elderly. Livelihoods as well as the management of land are affected by a changing labor force, traditional knowledge, remittances, and other consequences of migration. In this study, we explore how these issues affect land and its management, and what measures and strategies are being taken by the people left behind. Mapping methodology from the World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies (WOCAT) was used to assess land management practices in a subwatershed in Western Nepal. In combination with other research methods, the mapping enabled a better understanding of the impacts of migration on land degradation and conservation. Preliminary findings reveal negative as well as positive impacts. The main degradation problem found was the growth of invasive alien plant species, while overall vegetation and forest cover had increased, and some types of degradation, such as soil erosion or landslides, were even reduced. A feminization of agriculture has also been observed in the Nepali case study, in contrast to the Bolivian case which revealed that whole families were migrating, with mostly men temporarily returning to manage the land. The findings of this study suggest that a more differentiated and context-specific view is required when looking at the impact of migration on land management.
South & Central America and the Caribbean
2014, Kaenzig, Raoul
This chapter is based on existing empirical studies related to climate change and migration in Latin America and the Caribbean. It looks at the situation in the region as compared with that in other regions of the world, while underscoring certain aspects that are specific to Latin America and the Caribbean. Historical analogy is used; a summary of the past consequences of environmental degradation for migration facilitates an evaluation of the future consequences of climate change. In addition, this compilation of existing studies also makes it possible to reflect critically on the geographic and theoretical distribution of the case studies and to identify the regions for which additional and complementary studies would be desirable, given the vulnerability of those regions. Based on the existing literature, three kinds of climate evolution are expected to have the greatest impact in terms of population displacement: natural hazards (tropical cyclones, heavy rains and floods), droughts and sea level rise. Added to this list is the melting of glaciers, which is a particularly sensitive issue in South America. The present chapter includes an evaluation of the impact on migration of each of these phenomena based either on historical experience or on projections.
Migração e mudança climática em América Latina
2011-6-1, Kaenzig, Raoul
O artigo visa fazer um balanço da relação entre mudança climática e migrações, com foco específico no continente latino-americano. A síntese proposta é baseada em um levantamento de estudos empíricos existentes até o momento. Após um breve histórico do debate sobre a relação entre mudança climática e migração, examinamos as principais consequências ambientais das alterações climáticas, com destaque para aquelas que mais podem impactar nos deslocamentos populacionais na América Latina. Vamos abordar, de forma específica, aspectos relacionados com os furacões, as inundações, as secas, a elevação do nível dos mares e o derretimento das geleiras.
Cambio climático, retroceso glaciar y migración en Bolivia
2013-9-2, Kaenzig, Raoul
Los glaciares son esenciales para las partes altas de Bolivia; ellos mantienen ecosistemas locales, como también proporcionan agua potable, para la agricultura y la producción de energía. El retroceso acelerado de estas últimas tres décadas está poniendo en peligro las bases esenciales para la vida de las poblaciones de montaña.
Identificando temas claves en migración, medio ambiente y cambio climático en América del Sur
2015-4-11, Kaenzig, Raoul
La hoja informativa “Identificando temas claves en migración, medio ambiente y cambio climático en América del Sur” de la Universidad de Neuchatel en Suiza y de la OIM (Organización Internacional para la Migración) ofrece un primer panorama regional sobre el tema.
The circulation of people. A critical discussion on the impact of glacier shrinkage upon population mobility in the bolivian andes
2013, Kaenzig, Raoul
This article examines the role of glacial retreat on people migration in the Bolivian Andes. In the Andean region, glacial retreat is one of the most noticeable effects of global warming. Significant acceleration in glacial melting has been observed since the 1980s and glacial runoff is vital to the region, supporting local ecosystems as well as providing water for drinking, irrigation and energy production. In academic literature, international medias and NGO reports it is often assumed that these impacts are severely affecting the livelihood of the local population who may be forced to migrate. Based upon a literature review and a case study in the Bolivian Andes, this paper brings a critical discussion on this assumption. The confrontation of two bodies of academic literature, the first on migration and climate change and the second on glacial retreat impacts allows the conceptualisation of some mechanisms to understand how the impact of glacial retreat may be considered as migration drivers. These mechanisms are then illustrated and discussed with a case study that brings empirical insights on mobility patterns of rural communities living on the edge of a retreating glacier.
Migration as a Risk Management Strategy in the Context of Climate Change: Evidence from the Bolivian Andes
2016, Brandt, Regine, Kaenzig, Raoul, Susanne, Lachmuth
Mountain regions are among the most vulnerable areas with regard to global environmental changes. In the Bolivian Andes, for example, environmental risks, such as those related to climate change, are numerous and often closely intertwined with social risks. Rural households are therefore characterized by high mobility, which is a traditional strategy of risk management. Nowadays, most rural households are involved in multi-residency or circular migratory movements at a regional, national, and international scale. Taking the case of two rural areas close to the city of La Paz, we analyzed migration patterns and drivers behind migrant household decisions in the Bolivian Andes. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews with selected respondents from 68 households. The drivers for migration were categorized, their relative importance was calculated, and generalized linear mixed models were applied for statistical analyses. Our results underline that migration is a traditional peasant household strategy to increase income and manage livelihood risks under rising economic pressures, scarcity of land, insufficient local off-farm work opportunities, and low agricultural productivity. Migration predominantly occurs to nearby urban areas located in the same region. Climatic variability and water scarcity, which have increased through climate change, play crucial roles as additional stressors for agricultural production. Our results suggest that environmental factors do not drive migration independently, but are rather combined with socio-economic factors. There is a need for more research on the links between environmental changes driven by climate change and other factors and their effects on migration dynamics and rural development in the Bolivian Andes and adjacent areas.