• There will be 300 thousand newly restored hectares in 3 years.
• Colombia has secured more than 243 million dollars to fund preventive actions on climate change, forest conservation and biodiversity.
• 4.3 million hectares have been added to the National System of Protected Areas.
• 142 million dollars have been invested in the Amazon, known as the “Lungs of the World”.
• There are currently 51 million hectares of duly zoned and ordered forest reserves.
• The commitment is to reduce carbon emissions by 20 percent.
• The National Government commits to have all the country’s moorlands delimited by December 2016.
Bogotá, July 22, 2015 (SIG).
This Wednesday in Bogotá, during the evaluation of the accomplishments and goals for the Environment and Sustainable Development sector, the President of the Republic, Juan Manuel Santos, announced that the National Government has committed to have 19.4 million hectares of protected territories by 2018.
This event, led by the Head of State and the Minister of the Environment and Sustainable Development, Gabriel Vallejo, is part of the national government’s “Estamos Cumpliendo” (“Keeping Our Word”) outreach tour to share the achievements in this sector.
The first accomplishment is the addition of 4.3 million hectares to the National System of Protected Areas. According to the Minister for the Environment, Gabriel Vallejo, “this shows that we are caring for our parks, we are taking care of our biodiversity”.
The second landmark is that 142 million dollars have been invested in the Amazon region.
In third instance, the President pointed out that there are currently 51 million hectares of duly zoned and ordered forest reserves.
While there are achievements to share, there are also challenges for the environmental sector, among others, the restoration of 300 thousand hectares. “This would amount to 233 percent of what we have today”, the Head of State said.
“Our responsibility and our legacy is to protect the water”
The inclusion of the wetlands of the Estrella Fluvial del Inírida (Inírida Fluvial Star) in the Ramsar list is one of the major legacies of this government, showcasing Colombia before the world.
Three more wetlands are pending to be declared as Ramsar sites by late 2017: the Laguna del Otún in the coffee growing zone, Tarapota in the department of Amazonas, and the Laguna del Sonso in the department of Valle del Cauca.
On the other hand, we are seeking to establish regulations for the use of 60 water sources, including among others the Bogotá River, which is vital for the country’s capital.
Adaptation to climate change
The Ministry has led one of the greatest challenges faced by the world today: adapting to climate change.
That is why 50 percent of the country already has climate change adaptation plans, and eight 8 sectors are currently adjusting to low carbon-emission strategies.
President Santos reiterated that one of his government’s pledges is to reduce carbon emissions 20 percent by 2030.
“Colombia is the second country in the region to commit itself to a specific figure: 20 percent is a very important figure”, the President said.
Conflict and the environment
During this gathering, President Santos stated that the conflict has destroyed forests and rivers, invading them with illicit crops and illegal mining, and polluting our water sources.
The President pointed out that nearly 60 percent of coca crops are located in environmentally protected areas.
The Head of State said that one of the challenges of the post conflict is build territories of peace, free from coca crops, and offering opportunities for their inhabitants, with reforestation and an environmentally-friendly forestry industry. And we will begin with our Pacific region.
Challenges at the international level
One of the elements worth highlighting in the environmental sector is the initiative on the new sustainable development goals and the country’s leadership in setting the green economy agenda in Rio +20.
The Amazon received important benefits thanks to the First International Agreement signed to fund the reduction of emissions due to deforestation in the Colombian Amazon region.
In turn, we have secured more than 243 million dollars to implement educational activities in the quest to deal with climate change, forest conservation and biodiversity.