In our quest to find and connect with like-minded innovators, we come across loads of true devotion and commitment. Today we are offering our humble online space to shed the light on the work of a young NGO from Peru – The Centre of Climate Innovation and Sustainability (CICS). The two founders of CICS opened their door to us and took us on a tour of what they mean to bring to their community. Keep reading till the very end of our guest article today for a pleasant surprise!

The effects of climate change have been increasing worldwide over the last decade. In Peru, the issue is even more pressing. According to figures from the Tyndall Centre (2003), Peru is positioned among the 10 most vulnerable countries to climate change. The Peruvian Ministry of Environment estimates, that under a passive scenario, the effects of climate change could be even greater, such as the loss of water resources for human consumption and energy generation due to glacial retreat, the loss of primary agricultural and fishing productivity as a result of rising sea temperatures, the loss of biodiversity, and effects on human health. Given this grave reality, facing climate change in Peru demands new approaches and innovative solutions.

CICS, or “Centro de Innovación Climática y Sostenibilidad” in Spanish, was founded by Melissa Capcha and Vanessa Bolivar in 2018. The two passionate Peruvian environmental engineers aspire to offer their communities innovative solutions for climate change adaptation and mitigation, as well as the sustainable development agenda in Peru, while respecting traditions and the cultural heritage of the communities. It is very important to them to save and advocate for the climate, but also engage with people personally and culturally.

CICS contributing to a Round Table about Climate Innovation in Latin America at COP24

The core work at CICS focuses on two pillars to address climate change: adaptation and mitigation. Acting on these two pillars also promotes the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). To mitigate the effects of climate change, the fields of responsible consumption, climate innovation, circular economy and ecologically efficient use of resources are promoted by the NGO. 

Equally important is the promotion of adaptation to climate change. Given the high degree of vulnerability of Peru, it is key to promote resilient communities and prepare them to respond to the impacts of climate change. To achieve this, CICS promotes environmental education programs, knowledge transfer and the strengthening of technical capacities in local actors, always with a strong component of promoting research on climate change innovation. Additionally, it is essential that local traditions and context are taken into account while developing sustainable solutions or proposals.

Potential of Organic Waste in Lima

In the city of Lima, less than 1% of the municipal organic waste is valorized. Therefore it ends in a landfill or dumpsite, losing the opportunity to close the nutrients cycle or recover energy from this valuable waste. The ongoing project “Potential of municipal organic waste in Lima for its valorization” is a CICS initiative that started in mid-2019, aiming at addressing this problem with a sustainable and circular approach. The project consists of two components, an applied technical component and an education-communication component.

The first stage of the technical component is conducting a “Study of the potential of municipal organic waste in Lima for valorization”, while the second stage is the “Design and implementation of a pilot project for solid waste valorization in schools”. As a product of the first stage, a free and ready-to-use Technical Guide for Municipalities will be published, providing key information and an analysis of the main existing technologies for the treatment and valorization of municipal organic waste. The analysis considers environmental, economic, political and social aspects.

The educational and communication component is transversal to both stages of the project and is framed in the campaign called “From the Earth to the Earth”, in Spanish “De la Tierra a la Tierra”, whose purpose is to promote the valorization of municipal organic waste and raise awareness about the potential and importance of reusing this waste as a strategy to mitigate climate change. Within the framework of this campaign, the part I and part II “Forum on the Potential of Municipal Organic Solid Waste in Metropolitan Lima for its Valorization” was held.

Now that we are well acquainted with the work of CICS, we are very thrilled to announce that our upcoming episode on The Mitti Podcast would host the two founders we met in this article, Melissa Capcha and Vanessa Bolivar. In the planned episode, we expand our discussion on solid waste management in Peru, its potential as a natural fertilizer for organic farming, and more.

Stay tuned!


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