Within the framework of the Mountain Alliance, since its creation in 2002, several consultation meetings have been held with the participation of its members to discuss various issues. In this context, during the Second World Meeting of the Alliance, in Cusco, Peru, in 2004, the 12 regional and thematic initiatives of the Alliance met, seeking to advance in the definition of regional collaboration topics.

At that time, the existence of an Andean Initiative counted with 34 members, among countries, Intergovernmental Organizations and Major Groups. Currently, the Andean Mountain Initiative is made up of the seven Andean countries that recently (July 2017) agreed on a Regional Coordination Mechanism.

Key governance dimensions


As opportunities, there are several concrete experiences aimed at making visible the services and goods provided by mountain ecosystems in the region. They include mechanisms of retribution for ecosystem services (e.g. MERESE-IFAD Project in Peru on retribution for hydrological services); natural infrastructure for water storage from rainfall and glacier melt (e.g. the project on Natural Infrastructure for Water Supply in Peru); and the implementation of Early Warning Systems in watersheds vulnerable to CC (e.g. Ecuador and Peru).

Another key initiative is the Regional Strategy for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of High Andean Wetlands (RAMSAR) covering eight countries in the region.

Institutional formality

The formalization of the Andean Mountain Initiative (IAM) in 2004 aims at recognizing the Andean mountains as a key ecosystem to protect and at incentivizing regional cooperation between Andean countries beyond national boundaries. The Andean Mountains Initiative (IAM) is a platform made up of the seven countries that share the Andean mountain range: Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela, and which, on a voluntary basis, seek to strengthen regional dialogue aimed at promoting and undertaking joint actions aimed at the conservation and sustainable development of the Andean mountains.

Civil society participation

In the Andean region, participatory mechanisms of all the stakeholders are decisive considering the wide socio-cultural diversity of this mountain region. Various cases exist that aim to integrate all voices from civil society organizations, along with government authorities, including indigenous peoples, peasants, women, young people and others. This is achieved, for example, through citizen consultation mechanisms (Argentina, Chile), territorial planning (Bolivia), or subnational coordination tables around climate change issues (Colombia, Ecuador). An innovative experience is the creation of Peru’s Indigenous Peoples’ Platform for Climate Change.

Science-policy interface

The Consorcio para el Desarrollo Sostenible de la Ecoregion Andina (CONDESAN) has made important contributions to sustainable mountain development and to promote science-policy dialog for nearly two decades. The organization was created in 1992 as a partnership of groups promoted by the International Potato Center and the International Development Research Centre. Since 2009, CONDESAN is an independent organization that serves as a regional platform for research for development. Headquartered in Lima, Peru, it is governed by a General Assembly of international associates and an Executive Director.

CONDESAN’s institutional history reflects the importance of resilience and adaptation in mountain areas, with an emphasis on sustainable management of mountain landscapes through three main complementary strategies: 1. Knowledge generation and management; 2. Sustainable governance; and 3. Sustainable land management, restoration and conservation. With the support of international partners, the organization initially focused on linking researchers, development practitioners, and stakeholders, and to identify appropriate means for promoting the development of Andean agro‐ecosystems. Over time, CONDESAN’s mission and institutional structure turned to mobilizing the wealth of the Andes in order to overcome poverty and social exclusion.

Time line


In the city of Huaraz, Peru, the participants in the “World Meeting of Mountain Ecosystems to 2020: Water, Life and Production” meet in June 2002.

They adopt the “Declaration of Huaraz” in which they recommend mountain countries to take actions for the protection of Mountain Ecosystems, accepting the recommendations of Chapter 13 of Agenda 21, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the results of the Summit World Conference on Sustainable Development. It was also recommended, at that time, to form a Mountain Ecosystems Working Group, taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the Johannesburg Summit, to create and strengthen alliances that would articulate the efforts of governments and the main groups identified in Agenda 21 in the perspective of building sustainable development in the mountains.


In October 2004, in Cusco, Peru, during the Second World Meeting of the Mountain Alliance, the “Declaration of the Andes” was prepared. Key priority work themes were proposed including biodiversity conservation, territorial planning, information exchange, revalorization of Andean culture, climate change and disaster risk management, and strengthening of regional mountain governance.


In September 2007, in Tucumán, Argentina, the First Andean Subregional Meeting of the Andean Mountain Initiative was held; It was attended by representatives of Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela, as well as representatives of international organizations and numerous NGOs and representatives of indigenous peoples. The “Declaration of San Miguel de Tucumán” was signed and the “Action Plan for the Sustainable Development of the Andean Mountains” was presented.

Formulation of the Regional Project for Strengthening Participatory Management for Sustainable Development in the Andes, financed through the FAO technical cooperation mechanism (TCP). The project of which Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru were part had the general objective of strengthening and expanding the institutional framework of mountains at the national and regional Andean level, improving the participatory management of resources and expanding knowledge on the different topics. that cover them, with special emphasis on training activities.


In May 2014, in Bariloche, Argentina, the II Subregional Meeting of the Andean Initiative was held, from May 7 to 9, within the framework of the closure of the TCP / RLA / 3301 Project, where the “Declaration of Bariloche”, which suggests the creation of a regional body for coordination among the countries (called “Regional Mechanism”). Government and non-governmental representatives from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela participated.

The TCP-FAO project produced the publication “Cordillera de los Andes, an opportunity for the integration and development of South America”, which collects and compiles the diagnostic work developed by each country within the framework of the Andean TCP, and also mentions a “Regional Technical Instance for coordination between the National Mountain Committees”.

On September 17 and 18, 2015, a working meeting of the Andean Mountain Initiative was held in Lima, Peru, with the participation of government representatives from Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Venezuela and Peru. The delegations ratified the need for a Regional Coordination Mechanism.

On April 29, 2016, the IAM met again in Lima, continuing the commitments of the September 2015 meeting. The countries reviewed, discussed and adjusted a proposal for a Regional Coordination Mechanism for the IAM.


On July 11, in Bogotá, Colombia, the Andean Mountain Initiative held a meeting in which the delegates of the seven Andean countries agreed, among other aspects: to pprove the Coordination Mechanism of the Andean Mountain Initiative; appoint a Pro-Tempore Coordination for a period of two years; entrust Chile with the Pro-Tempore Coordination; and designate CONDESAN as the Technical Secretariat of the Andean Mountain Initiative for a period of two years, with the possibility of extension.

On November 19 and 20, the Annual Meeting of the Council of Member Countries of the Andean Mountain Initiative was held in Quito, Ecuador. During the meeting, topics were discussed related to the operation of the Regional Coordination Mechanism, progress in the Biannual Work Plan of the Technical Secretariat, the Action Plan for the Sustainable Development of the Andean Mountains and the Framework of Action for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in mountain areas.


This has been an very active period for the Andean Mountain Initiative. In 2021 Peru assumes the Regional Coordination. Three working groups are established for: 1) the development of a 5-year Action Plan; 2) the formulation of a Road-map for strengthening governance of the Andean Mountain Initiative; 3) the formulation of a financial sustainability strategy. Other key ongoing activities include joint work for the formulation of a proposal for the Adaptation Fund (in collaboration with UNEP), the publication of the web portal of the AMI in Spanish, English, Aymara and Quechua (, a very active participation of AIM representatives in regional dialogs on mountain governance (with other global platforms such as the Carpathian Convention, the Alpine Convention, ICIMOD, etc.) and international fora (e.g. COP 26 in Glasgow), and the development of regional synthesis publications and infographic pieces on Andean Biodiversity and Climate Change in the Andes.

Additional resources

  • Iniciativa Andina de Montañas (-> link)
  • Key publications at (-> link)

The Andes in Mountains Connect videos

  • Locating mountains for governance (-> link)
  • Crafting collaboration (-> link)
  • Including civil society (-> link)
  • Bringing science and policy together (-> link)

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