Colombia has the third largest forest area in South America. After a dramatic spike in deforestation following the end of the conflict between the government and FARC, deforestation is once again in decline due to ambitious efforts by the government and its partners. In 2019 Colombia, Germany, the UK and Norway extended their climate and forest partnership until 2025.
- Size:1.1 million km2
- Capital: Bogota D.C.
- Population: ca. 45.5 million
- Ethnic groups: There are a total of 102 indigenous peoples with a population of 1,5 million. In addition approximately 5 million people are Afro-Colombians.
- Forested area: About 600.000 km2 – more than 50% of the country, or almost twice the size of Italy.
- Biodiversity: Home to 10 percent of the world’s species of flora and fauna. It ranks first with regard to bird species and ranks second in terms of plants, butterflies, freshwater fishes and amphibians (CBD Profile). Colombia is listed as one of only 17 “megadiverse” countries in the world.
Colombia has the third largest forest area in South America. After a dramatic spike in deforestation following the end of the conflict between the government and FARC, deforestation is once again down thanks to ambitious efforts by the government and its partners.
Colombia, Germany, the UK and Norway have extended their climate and forest partnership until 2025.
Vast natural forests cover more than half of the country, two thirds of these are in the Amazon. From 1990 to 2017 the country lost a forested area larger than the size of Costa Rica. Deforestation reached a peak in 2017. That year natural forest equaling more than 25 football fields were cleared – every hour!
Few places on the planet has more biodiversity than the Colombian forests.
They house countless known and yet unknown plants, as well as large numbers of animals seen nowhere else on earth. They contain more than 53 000 species of flora and fauna, 20 % of which unique on the planet.
Close to half or Colombia’s forests are situated in indigenous territories or in the collective territories of the Afro Colombian communities.
The forests provide livelihoods in terms of food, wood, natural medicines and other type of economic support.
When the peace accord between the government and the FARC guerilla was signed in 2016, the guerilla left the areas they had previously controlled. This paved the way for new illegal, armed groups who took control of large areas.
The result: More clearing of rainforest, more land grabbing, more forest clearing for cattle ranching and coca farms, and more illegal logging activities.
From 2016 to 2017 deforestation in Colombia more than doubled, and it was expected that the deforestation would continue to rise significantly.
The government, since taking office in August 2018, has clearly stated that the fight against deforestation is given priority.
The determination to reduce deforestation has yielded results. In 2018, Colombia achieved a reduction in national deforestation by 10% compared to 2017.
Colombia reports that the positive trend continues and that there are less deforestation alerts in the Amazon in 2019 compared to recent years.
Norway’s Climate and Forest Partnership with Colombia
In 2015, Colombia, Norway, Germany and the United Kingdom signed a Joint Declaration to strengthen cooperation on climate and forest in Colombia. In April 2018 the partnership was extended up until 2025. Norway pledged 400 million kroner annually against emission reductions achieved from reducing deforestation, starting from 2021. Most of this contribution will be payment for reduced greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation. The money will only be paid if Colombia manages to reduce deforestation.
Colombia is committing to ambitious goals to reduce deforestation and to launch large-scale programmes in support of forest conservation and ethnic groups.
For the first time the government has included protection of biodiversity as a strategic goal in its national defense policy.
And the new national development plan (2018-2022) establishes a National Council to Fight Deforestation.