Assessing carbon and water footprints in Andean cities: Comparative study of La Paz, Quito and Lima

Case Summary: 

The Andean cities of La Paz, Quito, and Lima share a common interest in climate compatible development and vulnerabilities to climate change due to dependence on shrinking glaciers for their water supplies. Through participation in the Cities Footprint Project, the three cities assessed their carbon and water footprints, developed municipal action plans, and implemented pilot projects to address carbon emissions and water use. Activities outlined in action plans indicate that La Paz, Quito, and Lima can all significantly reduce their carbon and water footprints through local government, national government, and private sector coordination. Highlighted below, and profiled in this case study, are several actions and good practices that supported climate compatible development in these cities.

  • Cultivation of high-level political will, an internal champion within the municipal government focused on operations, and stakeholder buy in all contributed to successful footprint assessments and implementation of pilot projects.
  • Framing carbon and water pilot projects as part of broader local or national development initiatives supports stakeholder buy-in.
  • Data collection is an integral aspect of footprint assessments and processes can be designed to enable collection and maintenance of high quality data with support and buy in from all actors.
  • Addressing financing issues in pilot project planning stages is critical to ensure project implementation.
  • Institutionalizing the carbon and water footprint assessment process in municipal operations allowed local capacity to be built and sustained.
Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru
Latin America and Caribbean
Action Area 
Planning and Implementation Activity 
Developing Strategies and Plans, Analysis and Data Collection, Developing and Implementing Policies and Measures, Sub-national Action and Integration
Sectors and Themes 
Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN)
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