Protecting the Orinoco river basin in Colombia

Project description

Title:  Consideration of ecosystem services in the regional planning for the Orinoco basin
Commissioned by: Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU)
Country: Colombia
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development
Overall term: 2018 to 2022

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The ecosystems of the Orinoco river basin in Colombia are vital to the prosperity and economic development of the region as a result of their biodiversity and abundance of water. This riverine landscape provides clean water and fertile soils, besides binding carbon and helping to mitigate climate change. It also protects against flooding and drought. Development plans for the region provide for the expansion and intensification of agriculture. In this context, it is important that ecosystems are preserved and protected – otherwise the ecological stability of the region could be at risk, which would in turn have an impact on economic development the country aspires to achieve.


The economic value of nature for the human population and examples of sustainable land use in the Orinoco river basin have been integrated into regional and agricultural development plans.

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The project disseminates knowledge and increases awareness among the local population of the economic value of nature, particularly among decision-makers from the public and private sectors, municipal officials and farmers. At the same time, it is developing criteria for methods and tools with the aim of protecting biodiversity and thus also human habitats. It also supports representatives of the public and private sectors in joint efforts to plan and implement sustainable land use. The project is establishing a monitoring system to measure the status of biodiversity and the economic contribution of natural resources. Achievements, lessons learned and successful project models will be shared both nationally and internationally. The project is also developing incentives to encourage sustainable land use. In addition, it is developing a strategy that will allow additional funds for the protection of biodiversity to be obtained from the public and private sectors.

The Alexander von Humboldt Biological Resources Research Institute in Colombia and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Germany are supporting the implementation of this project.

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