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

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


Promote collaborative and integrative research, including science-policy exchanges

At the heart of Conéctate A+ is collaborative work to generate sound scientific information to support applied work and policy development. This is based on the recognition that significant knowledge gaps remain, particularly with respect to the interplay of social and environmental dynamics that influence sustainability outcomes. The network promotes the development of knowledge synthesis through research grants, and facilitates the formation of new research consortia or alliances.


Strengthening links between Swiss partners and partners in the Tropical Andes and Central America Region

Conéctate A+ promotes research and innovation on global challenges by strengthening collaboration between Swiss higher education institutions and partners in the Global South. In this context, it aims to increase collaboration between research centers in the Andes+ with Swiss universities, seeking complementarity in terms of thematic focus, geographic areas of expertise, and new collaborative research mechanisms. Among the main strategies implemented are the fostering of exchange between partners, promoting regional science-policy spaces, designing/implementing mechanisms to involve Swiss students in research projects in the Tropical Andes and Central America region and vice versa.


Communicating the progress and results of Conéctate A +

An important operational function of the platform is to serve as a communication hub for research, action and policy initiatives working at the intersection of sustainability, climate change, ecosystems and health. To achieve this, efforts will focus on identifying and communicating relevant information to a broader audience that might otherwise remain fragmented or underutilized. To this end, we use a variety of strategies such as monthly newsletters, webinars, research publications, web news and the promotion of exchange spaces with decision makers.


Coordination and management of the Conéctate A+ platform

The Conéctate A+ team works to foster articulation and communication between partners, and to provide operational support to the planned activities. The main cross-cutting tasks correspond to the continuous search for external funding, publications and relevant research opportunities to fulfill the objective of the network, with emphasis on opportunities for collaboration between partners.

CLOC Activities

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Partner Institutions


Mountain Research Initiative (MRI)

University of Zurich (UZH)

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


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

Associate Partners


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