In terrestrial, marine and coastal ecosystems of the Caribbean and Pacific of Colombia, FORLIANCE together with four partners are preparing an innovative biodiversity conservation project, with emphasis on strengthening value chains based on green business.
The Caribbean and the Pacific of Colombia are regions with a remarkable ecological, environmental and social wealth. They are strongholds that fortify life on the planet, with the potential to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases, biodiversity conservation and the mitigation of climate change. FORLIANCE, Patrimonio Natural, the Instituto de Investigaciones Ambientales del Pacífico (IIAP), the Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras (Invemar) and ICCO-Conexión activated the formulation and preparation phase of a forward-looking project.
This phase is funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI), the most important instrument of the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK) to support international climate action. Through the IKI, the BMWK supports strategies in developing and emerging countries to achieve sustainable change. The political counterpart in Colombia is the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development.
The project called ‘Sustainable and resilient management of strategic ecosystems and biodiversity in the Pacific and Caribbean regions of Colombia’ seeks to contribute to the good management and conservation of mangroves, seagrasses, dry forest and tropical rainforest, by strengthening the communities’ own economic ventures or initiatives through the design and application of economic incentives that facilitate the development of value chains and sustainable enterprises based on local resources, among other strategies.
The projects will be implemented in the insular Caribbean in the Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina, and in the continental Caribbean, the tropical dry forest in Montes de María. In the Pacific, the intervention will be in the Tribugá-Cupica-Baudó Pacific Biosphere Reserve.
The project is being prepared from a local perspective, taking into account the vision of each region and its inhabitants. During August, internal workshops were held in Quibdó, Santa Marta and Bogotá, as well as workshops and meetings with stakeholders in San Andrés, Chocó and Montes de Maria involving various actors from the public and private sectors, civil society entities and social and community organizations, including farmers, citizens and recyclers. This process of gathering information, strengthening networks and recognizing the main problems has allowed us to have a close look at the territory and connect with the different realities in order to formulate an innovative strategy in the project that interprets the essence and expectations of each territory and proposes solutions accordingly.
The key will be to strengthen territorial governance and alliances between the different stakeholders, creating a long-term multiplier effect, integrated ecosystem management and community and entrepreneurial economic initiatives based on green business. This formulation phase will end in the last quarter of 2022 with the submission of the project implementation proposal to the donor for review.
In the Caribbean
In Santa Marta and San Andres were the venues for workshops and meetings that brought together 60 people to address the island territorial analysis. Here, the focus will be on the Archipelago of San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina through Invemar as implementing partner. In San Andres, preliminary opportunities were identified in the community governance of mangrove forests, as they are ecosystems in which the raizales weave their culture and worldview, which are also fundamental for the health of the island in ecological terms, and which have been deteriorating at a speed and in a state of no return. Inadequate waste management, a recurring problem, is another line of work that will seek to articulate resource managers and institutions to obtain an integrated management cycle. In addition, options will be explored for working with the tourism sector, through the design of a sustainability strategy and educational and pedagogical actions in the links to raise awareness of the responsibility to protect the places they visit.
A field tour was also conducted in the municipalities of Toluviejo, Ovejas, San Juan Nepomuceno and San Jacinto de Montes de María, in the departments of Bolívar and Sucre, which is another of the project’s intervention areas that will be managed by Patrimonio Natural. This region has been marked by armed conflict and serious public order problems. The purpose of the project will be to strengthen the sustainable economic initiatives of small producers and businesses by strengthening their value chains for honey, agroforestry systems, beans, palms and biopreparations. In this region there are also opportunities to work on restoring the connectivity of the dry forest corridors that extend along the contours where these farming communities live, shelter and provide for them.
In the Pacific
The workshop with IIAP, in which about 17 people participated, was taken in Quibdó.
The territories targeted for intervention are part of the Tribugá-Cupica-Baudó Pacific Biosphere Reserve. Here, the implementing partner will be IIAP. In terms of support for economic initiatives, priority has been given to coconut, shrimp, vanilla, fishing, gastronomy and ecotourism, green business ventures, sea turtle monitoring and mangrove recovery. The objective is to create a basket of goods and services in the communities to diversify their income and that the commercialization can supply the domestic market, strengthening their own economies, according to the supply and demand of the territory.
This will require designing a basket of goods and services for the community to produce income from various sources such as ecological and sustainable tourism in Nuquí and Bahía Solano, the recovery of mangroves and, as mentioned, the promotion of coconut, shrimp and vanilla production activities. Mangrove and fauna monitoring (sea turtles and felines) will also bring income to the community.
ICCO-Conexión works in Colombia and Latin America to help transform the realities of different communities that subsist on the biological diversity of their lands and seas and mitigate the impacts of climate change. This motivation has led the consortium’s entities, four national and one international, to team up and adapt their technical, human and scientific capacities under a common goal: to contribute to the good management and conservation of mangroves, seagrasses, dry forest and tropical rainforest in the Colombian Pacific and Caribbean.
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