Environmental regional planning in areas affected by conflict - AmPaz
Title: Environmental regional planning in areas affected by conflict
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Presidential Agency for International Cooperation of Colombia
Overall term: 2018 to 2020
Colombia is a country with great biodiversity – only two other countries in the world have a greater number of species. Around 15 per cent of the country’s land area is protected under nature conserva-tion laws, while over 50 per cent is covered by natural forests. The regions with high levels of biodi-versity and forest coverage are particularly affected by the conflict that has lasted for over 50 years, involving guerrilla factions and criminal groups. As a consequence of the lack of state control in these regions, illegal land-use practices such as cultivating coca to produce drugs or illegally extracting mineral resources are widespread.
In 2016, a peace agreement was signed with the most important guerrilla group, the ‘Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia’ (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia - FARC). Rural develop-ment, alternatives to illegal land-use, and the generation of income from work for local populations play key roles in this peace agreement. The significance of natural resources in regions particularly affected by the conflict is also anchored in the peace agreement. It is the responsibility of the envi-ronmental authorities to establish guidelines for protecting the environment and natural resources that are to be considered in planning and implementing development measures.
However, the effectiveness of the environmental authorities, regional governments and other organisa-tions that support interactions between the environment and the peace process is limited in post-conflict regions. This has a negative impact on the coordination of planning processes with the popu-lation groups that are affected. In addition, there are only a few examples of measures that generate income – and very few of these are based on the protection or sustainable use of forest and biodiver-sity resources. There is often a lack of access to financing and other funds allowing local producers to implement their own initiatives.
Territorial planning and development-promoting measures in post-conflict regions take into account the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources and observe the needs of population groups that are particularly affected by the conflict.
The project is active in four areas in the post-conflict regions of Meta and Caquetá:
- Coordination of planning processes with the implementation of these processes at regional level;
- Development of needs-based and market-oriented approaches to sustainable use of forest and biodiversity resources in affected regions;
- Financing mechanisms for promising approaches in the sustainable use of nat-ural resources;
- Strengthening of key actors in the overall context of ‘Environment-Territory-Peace’.