Within 100 days of starting office, Colombia’s Minister of Environment Susana Muhamad already signed the first agreements with communities to reduce deforestation in Caquetá, the country’s second most deforested state in 2021.
Colombia has the third biggest forest area in South America and is known to have one of the most biodiverse forests in the world. In face of rising deforestation in the Colombian Amazon in first quarter of 2022, Colombia’s government has launched an ambitious emergency plan to stop deforestation in the Amazon.
The sustainable use and conservation of the Amazon, the world’s largest rainforest, is considered vital to curbing catastrophic climate change and to save unique biodiversity.
Colombia’s Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Susana Muhamad, expressed that “Colombia is committed to the development of a solid forestry economy that contributes to the goals of zero net emissions, the guarantee and protection of the applicable rights of indigenous peoples and local communities, as well as the expansion of efforts to conserve and manage sustainably natural forests. The advances in social agreements with the communities of the areas with the greatest impact of deforestation are highlighted, with the aim of promoting sustainable forest management of natural forests, the ecological restoration of degraded areas and the sustainable use of biodiversity”.
The plan consists of focusing efforts in 22 deforestation hotpots in the Colombian Amazon and seeks to effectively reduce deforestation in the region where more than 50% of the deforestation of the Amazon is concentrated. Through social dialogue with communities, the Colombian government aims to reach agreements to strengthen the economic, social, and environmental conditions in these areas. Within 100 days after taking office, Minister of Environment Muhamad already signed the first agreements with communities to reduce deforestation. The agreements are part of a wider strategy to develop a National Fund to mobilize finance from national and international sources, promote a Forest Economy, improve sustainable livelihoods, and stop the expansion of the agricultural frontier.
Espen Barth Eide, Norway’s Minister of Climate and Environment, said: “I am impressed by Colombia’s ambitious emergency plan to stop deforestation in the Amazon. Such strong political will to protect the Amazon is essential if we are to reach the global climate goals and protect biodiversity, as well as total peace in Colombia. Norway remains a committed partner to Colombia in this effort.”
Norway, Germany and the United Kingdom stressed their commitment to support the impressive ambitions of Colombia’s government in conserving fragile ecosystems such as the Amazon rainforest, whilst also protecting local environmental and human rights leaders and safeguarding the rights and safety of indigenous peoples, campesinos and afro-Colombian communities.
Based on Colombia’s achievements under the Joint Declaration of Intent, signed during COP25, Norway and Germany announced a donation of USD 25 million in support of Colombia’s plan against deforestation.
It is an investment in our common future.
Lord Goldsmith, Minister of State for Climate and Environment at the United Kingdom Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, said: “We want to speed up and grow international support for committed and ambitious forest countries like Colombia, to spur even great action at both the jurisdictional and national level. Regulating voluntary carbon markets is essential for raising the finance we need to meet our climate, nature, and development goals throughout this decade. But those markets must be high integrity from beginning to end, and we are determined to involve rural and forest communities across the board to ensure they benefit from the natural resource they protect.”
Jochen Flasbarth – German State Secretary in the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, said: “We will keep supporting efforts to reduce deforestation in the future. We have to ensure that our common approach evolves and meets the challenges of the climate and biodiversity crisis. We will continue our engagement in the coming years to work towards these goals together with Colombia, Norway and the UK. It is an investment in our common future.”
The Joint Declaration of Intent (JDI) between Colombia, Germany, Norway and the United Kingdom is a cooperative partnership and an example of international collaboration, coordination and articulation to meet the climate goals set out in the Paris Agreement. Thus far, 194 parties have signed. The JDI utilizes results-based payments for the achievement of policy goals and emission reductions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) in Colombia.