"A very simple, but powerful idea that helps remember the victims of the conflict while at the same time protecting the environment. It links technology and conservation. It's an ambitious plan seeking to plant over 8 million trees to restore the Amazon jungle, and turning this space in the jungle as an antidote against hatred." Interviewed: María Jimena Patiño, President Saving the Amazon. Report from Los informantes
Colombian President Juan Santos was honored by the National Geographic Society last week for his prodigious efforts since taking office in 2010 to expand the protection of Colombia’s biodiversity on both land and sea. Santos has more than doubled the number of square miles under national environmental protection — from 50.2 million square miles in 2010 to 109.6 million square miles today, including a doubling of Chiribiquete National Park in southern Colombia, one of the world’s most biodiverse places, to 10,700 square miles.Justin Catanoso. Mongabay
As thousands of people waited along 7th Avenue for the Pope's motorcade to roll in front of the Universidad Javeriana, scientists, religious leaders, environmentalists and representatives of ethnic communities met in that institution's Jaime Hoys auditorium to discuss the recognition of the human right to water, its implications in the peace and reconciliation process that Colombia is undergoing and the involvement of all social sectors in building a better future for the Common Home, a concept coined by the pope in his encyclical "Laudato Sí."”. El Espectador
Colombia is the second most biodiverse country in the world, as measured by species richness. But over the past half century it has also been home to a brutal civil war, inflicting death and displacement on its citizens, with negative repercussions on its natural environment. However grim, conflict itself is not necessarily bad for biodiversity. While the lack of governance in war zones can encourage illegal mining and deforestation, a resulting reduction in development can also mean the natural environment is not exposed to pressures it might otherwise face. So, peace brings a fresh environmental challenge.[...] Throughout the text of the peace agreement, the goal of maintaining social and environmental sustainability was stressed. It called for the establishment of agricultural workers’ associations, for example, with the aim of protecting the environment, while substituting illegal drug crops for food production. The agreement also set out plans for environmental zoning to mark out the agricultural frontier. The Conversation
A new report says deforestation in Colombia increased considerably in 2016, with over a third of deforestation occurring in FARC concentration zones created as part of the country's historic peace process, raising questions about the environmental impacts of the guerrilla demobilization.
A total of 178,597 hectares of land were deforested in Colombia in 2016, according to a new report from Colombia's Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies Institute (Instituto de Hidrología, Meteorología y Estudios Ambientales - IDEAM). This figure represents a 44 percent increase from the 124,035 hectares of land deforested in 2015. Insight Crime
Colombia is moving forward with an ambitious environmental framework, said the Minister for Environment & Sustainable Development at Imperial. [...] “One of the dividends of the peace agreement is that we can protect Colombia’s rich natural world,” said Minister Murillo.[...] Colombia is now implementing a comprehensive environmental framework that consists of five priorities: adaptation to climate change, designation of protected areas, conservation of water resources, restoration of degraded land and the introduction of more sustainable production and consumption. [...] we have already increased the number of protected areas from 13 million hectares in 2010, to 28 million hectares in 2017 – that is 2 million hectares higher than our original target, and a year early!” [...] Imperial London College
The National Government, together with the Inter-American Development Bank, will present to international experts the progress of the 'Sustainable Colombia Fund' to international experts. The meeting will take place on September 18 and will be held at the residence of UN Ambassador María Emma Mejía. Freddy Carrera Colombia Confidencial
The country’s Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies (IDEAM) recently announced that deforestation rates have rapidly escalated since the signing of a peace deal between FARC and the Colombian government last year that finally ended more than 50 years of conflict. Around 178,597 hectares (690 sq miles) of forest was cleared in 2016, 44 per cent more than in the previous year. Post-conflict Colombia is witnessing opportunistic loggers entering territories where fear of FARC kept them away for decades, and converting them into sites for large-scale agriculture and cattle ranching, road infrastructure projects, or illegal mining. Geographical
Colombia has some of the most biodiverse forests on Earth, and many still haven’t been fully explored because of the decades-long turmoil. “There are species and forests being preserved,” says University of Queensland in Brisbane, Pabloe Negret Torres. “But a peace where we are able to prioritise places important for conservation would be the best.” New Scientist
Our new report Defenders of the Earth found that nearly four people were murdered every week in 2016 protecting their land and the natural world from industries like mining, logging and agribusiness. In Colombia, killings hit an all-time high, despite – or perhaps because – of the recently signed peace deal between the government and the guerrilla group, the FARC. Areas previously under guerrilla control are now eyed enviously by extractive companies and paramilitaries, while returning communities are attacked for reclaiming land stolen from them during half a century of conflict. Story on Global Witness. Download report.