February 17, 2017 / 8:07 AM / 2 years ago

Bolivia seeks $250 mln from Green Climate Fund to tackle drought - FAO

TEPIC, Mexico, Feb 17 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Drought-hit Bolivia will seek $250 million from the Green Climate Fund for projects to bolster water management and food security, said the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which is supporting the application.

Bolivia declared a state of emergency in November amid protests and conflicts over the use of aquifers as the country’s worst drought in 25 years prompted water rationing and slashed harvests, requiring a sharp rise in imports.

While recent rains have eased drought conditions in parts of the country, La Paz remains affected.

Bolivia wants to tap the $10-billion Green Climate Fund - set up under U.N. climate talks to help developing countries tackle climate change - for its national irrigation programme to make farmers more resilient, FAO said in a statement on Thursday.

“Guaranteeing water for drinking and irrigation for our indigenous family farmers is equivalent to liberating our communities from poverty,” Bolivian President Evo Morales said in the statement.

The Andean nation will also need to set up ways for its institutions to oversee how funding is allocated and to evaluate its impact, said FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva.

The FAO said drought and water scarcity have become recurring problems in Bolivia over the past decade, but the situation has been “particularly alarming” since 2015.

Climate change is causing hotter dry seasons and shorter, more intense rainy seasons in the country, it added.

Countries need to change their approach to water management to ensure farming communities have sufficient resources, said the FAO.

In 2016, the Green Climate Fund approved projects around the world totalling more than $1.3 billion, but fell short of a $2.5 billion allocation goal for its first full year of operation.

Previous projects in Latin America approved by the fund include an energy insurance scheme in El Salvador, a wetlands resilience project in Peru, and a regional energy efficiency bond.

Reporting by Sophie Hares, editing by Alisa Tang. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit news.trust.org

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