Conservation and Sustainable Use of Mountain Ecosystems in Ecuador


There is a long-standing tradition of cooperation between the Republic of Ecuador and the Federal Republic of Germany in natural resources management. Since 2020, German technical co-operation, financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development – BMZ, has supported Ecuador's efforts to preserve and sustainably manage Andean highlands in the provinces of Cotopaxi, Tungurahua, Chimborazo, Bolívar and Cañar. Here, manifold ecosystems, especially the unique Páramo between the upper tree line and the highest rocky and glacial parts of the Andean mountain range, have important water retention and (soil) carbon sequestration impacts both nationally and globally, and they harbour a unique biodiversity.

The programme, "Conservation and Sustainable Use of Mountain Ecosystems" works to create awareness and contribute to the scientific basis for spatial planning and policy design. It aims to strengthen governance and technical exchange spaces by way of an articulation process on different levels. Framework conditions are addressed through technical advice within evidence-based land-use planning, conflict resolution and compensation of ecosystem services.

Local interventions (landscape/ecosystem rehabilitation and promotion of climate-smart value chains) enable the economic needs of the predominantly indigenous rural population to be focused on: small-scale farmers of indigenous and mestizo populations, for the most part, who apply territorial management practices. They are hard hit by poverty, and their livelihoods are becoming evermore vulnerable as climate change additionally impacts on the degradation of the ecosystems. To curb overgrazing and conversion to farmland, farmers are trained to use the ecosystems in a sustainable way. A special emphasis is on improving rural women's livelihoods.

Since February 2021, ECO Consult and Condesan are implementing the following activities in Cotopaxi, Tungurahua, Chimborazo and Bolívar:

  • Promoting sustainable/climate-smart value chains, and incentivizing local entrepreneurship

  • Criteria-based selection of priority sites and rehabilitation measures that combat landscape degradation whilst rewarding the provision of ecosystem services by the local population

  • Streamlining evidence-based and geo-referenced planning, creation of a cross-cutting monitoring system to measure progress and contribute to informed stakeholder exchange

  • Creating a community of practice as a multi-stakeholder forum for joint learning, cross-sectoral/inter-agency coordination, and wider upscaling of best practices.

The consortium draws on long-standing experience from related programmes such as Green Markets, TEEB, EcoAndes, and Bosques Andinos. Lessons learnt and recommendations will also inform GIZ's contributions to the national policy dialogue in support of both Ecuador’s commitments under the country’s NDC and the overarching national development strategy 'Toda una Vida' (2017-2021), for implementing the Agenda 2030.

More information: GIZ factsheets in English

- Programme Conservation and sustainable use of mountain ecosystems in Ecuador (.pdf, 290 KB)
- about activities in the Central Highland intervention area (.pdf, 439 KB)
- about activities in the Cañar intervention area (.pdf, 468 KB)


Time span
2021 – 2023      

Commissioning body           
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

Cooperation partner

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