On the 4th of March 2019, Idoia Arauzo, the coordinator of the OPCC, participated in the UN side-event “Tackling climate change in the Pyrenees region”, at the UN Headquarters in New York. The event was organized by the Permanent Representation of Andorra to the United Nations, in collaboration with the Permanent Representations of Spain and France.
The main goal of this event was to address the accentuated effects of climate change on mountain ecosystems and socioeconomic sectors, as well as the critical need for adaptation policies in bioregions such as the Pyrenees. On the other hand, the event sought to address the challenges and opportunities of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for mountain communities.
Idoia Arauzo shared the experiences and findings of the OPCC’s latest assessment report “Climate change in the Pyrenees: impacts, vulnerabilities and adaptation. Knowledge bases for the future strategy of adaptation to climate change in the Pyrenees”. In this sense, she highlighted that mountain ranges are water reservoirs which condition future water and food security, and that mountains are affected more dramatically by climate change. In the Pyrenees for instance, the increase in temperatures is 30% higher than the European average.
Mountainous bioregions like the Pyrenees also often constitute cross-border territories, where regional cooperation is essential for the implementation of efficient climate change adaptation policies. The OPCC, an initiative lead by the Working Community of the Pyrenees (CTP), is partnering with its 7 territorial members: the Principality of Andorra, the French regions Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Occitanie and the Spanish Autonomous Communities of Aragón, Catalonia, Euskadi and Navarra. The CTP promotes climate monitoring in the Pyrenees with its initiative the OPCC. Under the current presidency of the region of Aragón, it manages the Pyrenean Strategy 2018-2024. The axis number 1 of this strategy is “climate action”, which identifies the OPCC2 project as an essential tool for the implementation of a strategy in this field.
The OPCC2 and its partner projects have been 65% cofinanced by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Interreg V-A Spain France Andorra programme (POCTEFA 2014-2020). POCTEFA aims to reinforce the economic and social integration of the French–Spanish–Andorran border. Its support is focused on developing economic, social and environmental cross-border activities through joint strategies favoring sustainable territorial development.
Taking part in this event, the OPCC has given an international visibility to the Pyrenees and wished to contribute in raising awareness on the fragility of mountain ecosystems, identifying the main obstacles to tackling climate challenges in mountainous areas and highlighting the key role of cross border cooperation in responding to climate change.