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27504025 2139855299376677 7217154976334120983 onew In October 2017, the international community welcomed President Ortega’s announcement that Nicaragua would join the Paris Agreement. However, many Nicaraguan citizens could not share their relief - because Nicaragua has no climate change policy.
Nonetheless, that could be changing. Southern Voices on Adaptation (SVA) partner, The Nicaraguan Alliance on Climate Change (ANACC), presented a new climate change bill to the Nicaraguan parliament at the end of 2017 and are now pushing for its approval.
"The hard work is still ahead of us but it feels great to reach this milestone", reflected Carlos Mendez, ANACC's representative for SVA, "we now believe change is possible". 
Climate Change in Nicaragua
Despite the expiration of the country’s previous legislation in 2016, climate change is a serious problem for Nicaragua. Over the next few decades rising sea levels, increased hurricanes, and volatile rainfall will become the norm.
Furthermore, nearly a quarter of the population currently suffers from food insecurity. Nicaraguans depend upon agricultural crops such as beans, maize, and sorghum as their staple food source. Increased flooding and droughts will damage yields, increase hunger and limit community resilience. Without adaptation measures, the challenges faced by ordinary people will only intensify.
Flooding New
Flooding is a regular concern for ordinary Nicaraguans 
ANACC’s National Campaign
To support those most vulnerable to climate change, ANACC launched a national legislation campaign. Yet while the country needs such an adaptation initiative, the national government is not readily open to dialogue with civil society.
Carlos Mendez Presented ANACC
ANACC has responded to this challenge by raising public awareness through press conferences, photo competitions, online activism and even cartoons, with “The climate is changing, so is my life, demand a law!” serving as the campaign’s key slogan.
By amassing a 50-strong coalition made up of church leaders, academics, political leaders and business people, ANACC has built widespread support for their bill. “We did it through university rallies, local projects and engaging every part of our communities”, explained Mr. Mendez (pictured left).
Faced with growing public support and ANACC's formidable public campaign, the government was forced to allow a presentation of the law in the national parliament.
The long way round
Due to the government’s position, ANACC had to explore local, regional and international platforms as pathways to overcome political barriers to national change.
ANACC gained local support by using SVA’s Joint Principles for Adaptation to implement local adaptation measures. It collaborated with The Southern Caribbean Coastal Alliance on Climate Change to develop a regional climate change strategy, and worked with local authorities in the municipal capital Bluefields to cooperate on adaptation projects like building storm shelters and improving crop resilience.
Thanks to the ripple effect of this approach, ANACC has generated and maintained strong community support.
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Regional networking within the SVA project has also strengthened ANACC’s advocacy. “We’ve learned a lot from our Guatemalan partner, Sot’zil”, explained Alejandro Alemán, Southern Voices’ Latin American Regional Facilitator (pictured below).
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This influence has promoted a rights-based approach in their campaign that is hard to ignore – especially in the international arena.
ANACC has also been able to magnify their impact through regional conferences such as the Central America Vulnerable Forum. Their attendance last year meant SV-Adapt and ANACC’s Adaptation Communications Policy Brief featured in the 200-strong forum’s advocacy at COP23. 
Finally, campaigning at international events such as UNFCCC conferences in Bonn has provided ANACC with their only the only direct window of communication to the Nicaraguan government. “SVA has given us crucial access to our government”, detailed Mr. Alemán. Through these forums, ANACC has supplied position papers and garnered support from sympathetic government delegates. Such access may prove crucial further down the line. 
Currently, ANACC's proposed climate change law has been submitted to the National Committee for the Environment, with campaigning expected to continue throughout 2018. Moving forward with cautious optimism, "EL CLIMA CAMBIA, MI VIDA TAMBIÉN - ¡URGE UNA LEY!" provides a source of hope that Nicaragua can get the adaptation measures it deserves.
Learn more about ANACC's campaign through their website (spanish) or see other articles about ANACC here

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Regional Facilitator, Latin America

Alejandro Alemán

Alejandro 2Alejandro is based at the Sustainability Watch/Centro Humboldt in Managua. Alejandro holds a Master in Political Economics with focus on International Economics and Sustainable Development.

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