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Protect
and Restore Nature
2023 Winner

Acción Andina

Area of Impact:
The Andes Mountains

Acción Andina is a grassroots, community-based initiative working across south america to protect native High Andean forest ecosystems for their invaluable benefits to nature and millions of people in the region

Making up just 1% of the earth’s land surface, the 7,000km long (4,500 miles) Andes Mountain Range is home to a rich and diverse ecosystem. Indeed, 15% of all plant and wildlife species are located here, including over 50 endangered species like the spectacled bear and the Andean condor.

Over the years, deforestation, animal grazing and mining have depleted high Andean forests, leaving behind less than 10% of the region’s native forests. As a result, much of the farmland below has grown infertile and water supplies, heavily affected by shrinking glaciers, have dwindled. This severely impacts local and indigenous communities who rely on the land for their livelihoods, as well as the water security of millions of people across the continent.

Acción Andina's Solution

Acción Andina, co-founded by non-profit organisations Global Forest Generation and Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos, revives the ancient Inca principles of “Ayni and Minka”, a deep commitment to working together for the common good. Their approach unites tens of thousands of people in local and indigenous communities to protect and restore the native forests and ecosystems. Work that is vital for the region’s climate resilience, water security, biodiversity, community livelihoods and indigenous culture.

The initiative provides critical resources including salary support, project and financial management, as well as technical training for local conservation leaders, organizations and communities to grow long-term land protection and restoration activities. Acción Andina works closely with local communities in the high Andes to carry out conservation activities, building powerful partnerships for future land and resource management.

Their Impact

Acción Andina’s activities are already helping thousands of people by increasing food and water security, providing new income opportunities, and contributing to more sustainable management of natural resources. Since 2018, almost 10 million native trees have been planted by Acción Andina across five countries – restoring over 4,000 hectares of Andean forests and protecting more than 11,000 hectares of native forest.

While their impact to date is significant, Acción Andina is just getting started. By 2045, they aim to protect and restore one million hectares of high Andean, native forest ecosystems across Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela.

Such is their success so far, Global Forest Generation, which develops large-scale ecosystem restoration initiatives, has plans to replicate the Acción Andina model around the world to restore our most critically endangered and neglected ecosystems.

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