While the scientific capacity to forecast El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) extremes, this papers questions the extent to which these advances have benefited vulnerable communities by increasing their resilience to impeding El Niño events. The study captures the perspectives and opinions of communities in Peru concerning their vulnerability to climatic hazards, and the role of weather and climate information in relation to other non-formal information sources for anticipating and adapting to climatic extremes.Discussions with the communities show widespread perception of change some of which could be confirmed in data records. There often is however, limited knowledge of the mechanisms that increase vulnerabilities to a particular hazards and how changes outside their immediate environment could affect a community. The authors note a range of recommendations that can be undertaken at the national, department, and community level to further reduce vulnerabilities from climate change impacts in Peru.
Efforts to improve use of climate information should focus on the understanding of climate risks in their spatial dimension at the community level and providing climate information that is more directly linked to the local production systems.
Integration of climate information into the decision-making processes at the community level could include for example trust-building exercises between information providers and communities through local meetings.
The extent to which changes are occurring at temporal scales that are directly relevant to the livelihoods of the communities –such as changes in the characteristics of the rainy season should be investigated.
Government authorities should make climate data more easily accessible to stimulate research activities on Peru, given its high vulnerability.
Research initiatives should focus on promoting climate resilient agricultural practices, pest management, and the protection of livestock to improve assets of the households. This should be connected with exploring market opportunities, such as identifying niche markets for native crops well-suited for the local climatic conditions.
Potential revenue streams to communities created through the emergence of the carbon market for afforestation activities and any other incentive systems for reducing local environmental degradation should be explored.
External assistance to communities after a specific disaster should focus on solutions that also reduce vulnerabilities to future hazard exposure. This could include for example building safety standards.