About Us.

What is this cluster about?

Conéctate A+ is a network of researchers and institutions interested in deepening the interdisciplinary, rigorous, and comparative analysis of top-priority problems linked to ecosystems, climate change, health, and sustainable development in the Tropical Andes – Central America region (Andes+). By critically thinking through the potential of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) global agenda to help shape more sustainable and equitable futures, this network seeks to make these problems visible in the developing, implementing, and monitoring processes of global, national, and sub-national policies that are relevant for this region.


Conéctate A+ aims to strengthen the capacities to achieve the SDG in the Andes+ region by providing an adequate platform to promote knowledge generation, information exchange and academic collaboration opportunities between Swiss universities and other key actors that are playing an active role in discussing, formulating, and implementing the most innovative sustainable development strategies and policies in the Andes+ region.


This CLOC will:

  • Propose a new form of South-South and North-South inter-disciplinary academic collaboration between research institutions in Switzerland and the Andes+ region.
  • Articulate the most relevant findings and current debates in sustainable development and environmental governance in academic research in the Andes+ region.
  • Produce reliable knowledge on sustainable development and environmental governance in the Andes+ region, which will emphasize bridging knowledge and action in key decision making and policy cycles. 
  • Contribute to the formulation and implementation of new sustainable development strategies and projects.

Conéctate A +

Cluster of Cooperation in the Tropical Andes and Central America region (Andes+)

The past few years have seen the emergence of an image of the Tropical Andean and Central American regions characterized by an emphasis on the complexity of the social formations and ecological diversity of these two regions.

This new picture, it is important to note, is being shaped in a theoretical context that favors the synergistic interaction between cognate fields in the social and natural sciences. However, achieving sustainable development in Latin America, and specifically in the Tropical Andes and Central America region (Andes+), continues to be a major challenge. Although some progress has been made towards an adequate understanding of the barriers that impede progress towards this goal, the advances have been more thematically driven than with an integrated approach; with collaborative efforts of existing networks, particularly from research and practice in mountains, focused on socio-ecological variables of sustainable development.

Overall, this context reveals the necessity of opportunities to promote collaborative arrangements, dynamize theoretical discussions, and articulate the accumulated experience of these communities of practice, to consolidate the ongoing efforts in the Andes+ region for overcoming the barriers that impede the successful implementation of sustainable development policies.

Key activities


Virtual and non-virtual meetings between Andes+ and Swiss partner institutions .

A key component of this CLOC is to promote academic collaboration between the Swiss and Andes+ CLOC partner members. In this sense, a series of virtual and non-virtual meetings will be organized by CONDESAN to a) identify and prioritize key knowledge gaps that act as bottlenecks for the formulation of effective responses to achieve sustainable development goals in the Andes+ region; b) design effective mechanisms for collaborative knowledge production and communication among key stakeholders; c) share CLOC partners’ accumulated experience in addressing the challenges of moving from knowledge generation to action; and d) articulate with other relevant sustainable development networks in the region.


Design and implementation of a virtual platform for sustainable development information analysis and exchange.

An important outcome of this CLOC will be the design and implementation of a virtual platform for sustainable development information analysis and exchange. This process will begin with the assessment of the CLOC partners’ specific communication needs (such as new innovative projects, calls for papers, funding opportunities, relevant new research reports) through a survey, which will be specially designed for this purpose. After processing this information, a beta version of a web interface, which will incorporate the key elements identified in the survey, will be implemented by CONDESAN. This version, together with a content production system, will be validated with the CLOC members and adjusted with their feedback. Finally, once these components have been validated, CONDESAN will launch the final version of this platform and keep its contents up to date.


Small grants for integrated regional assessments.

This CLOC’s proposal contemplated the implementation of several small grants to promote comparative research on the CLOC’s thematic priorities. To do that, a mechanism will be designed collaboratively to allocate these grants. After the assignation of these grants, CONDESAN will provide academic and administrative assistance to the selected scholars upon the finalization of their proposed research.


Dissemination of CLOC Conéctate A + results.

Lastly, the results of this CLOC will be shared with a broader public. To that end, CONDESAN, with the support of other CLOC partners, will design, validate and implement a communication strategy that will include the creation of a monthly newsletter that will be distributed through CONDESAN’s Infoandina, MRI’s, and other CLOC member insitutions’ social media and email lists. This newsletter will include different sections such as a) open and upcoming calls for funding proposals; b) new publications on sustainability, health and climate change; and c) reviews of the most innovative initiatives that are currently being implemented on the topics of interest of this CLOC.

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Members and Target Groups

Key roles

This CLOC contemplates three levels of institutional involvement of its members: a) Facilitating institutions, b) Consortia for Education and Research (COFER) partner institutions, and c) invited partner institutions.


Mountain Research Initiative (MRI)

University of Zurich (UZH)

Consorcio para el Desarrollo Sostenible de la Ecoregión Andina (CONDESAN)

COFER Partner Institutions

Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Department of Geography

Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, School of Sciences and Philosophy

University of Basel, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute

ETH Zurich, Weather and Climate Risks Group

Bern University of Applied Sciences School of Agriculture, Forest and Food Sciences

University of Bern, Centre for Development and Environment

Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú

Universidad Centroamericana ‘José Simeón Cañas’, San Salvador

CARE, Lima, Peru

Invited Partners

We expect to broaden the thematic and epistemological foci of this platform by engaging a diverse group of researchers from Switzerland and the Andes+ region. Initial contacts have been established with:

Universidad San Antonio Abad del Cusco

Universidad Nacional Agraria la Molina, Lima

Universidad Antonio Ruiz de Montoya

Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales

Universidad Mayor de San Andrés - Instituto de Ecología

Pontificia Universidad Javeriana

Indiana University Bloomington

University of Washington Bothell


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