Protected areas and peace in Colombia
As of: September 2021
Conflicts over land use and ownership are endangering numerous ecosystems in Colombia – and minimising or resolving/transforming such conflicts contributes not only to peace, but also to the protection of biodiversity. The project is contributing to reducing or resolving/transforming land use and ownership conflicts, thus improving the management of protected areas. It is identifying the causes of deforestation, introducing a system for monitoring deforestation, strengthening plans for sustainable land use, improving capacities for conflict resolution and developing approaches to solutions. The project also strengthens the institutional framework for protected areas by means of dialogue with farmers, and mobilises public and private funds which are then used to conserve biodiversity – and the living conditions of smallholders and landless persons are being improved, making yet another important contribution to the peacekeeping processes. /
State of implementation/results
- An analysis on soil degradation and deforestation drivers for each of the six protected areas of the project is underway and will be finalized by July 2021. This study is being developed with the Colombian leading organization on deforestation analysis, Fundación para la Conservación y el Desarrollo Sostenible.
- A virtual workshop on “Parks & Peace: improving protected area management and territorial governance, addressing the causes of deforestation and degradation in Colombia” was held (03/2020).
- A stakeholder mapping was prepared and dialogue platforms were identified for each protected area. Community workshops were implemented virtually and communication materials elaborated. The methodological route for a comprehensive capacity building and training programme (including negotiation skills) for the target groups was designed and criteria for the selection of families and communities that will be part of the conservation agreements were elaborated with each one of the protected area managers.
- One regional and eight local planning instruments were developed, in which the management of protected areas and the issues of use, occupation and tenure were effectively integrated.
- A preliminary identification of products with potential for business models (cacao, honey and ecotourism) was conducted as well as the identification of potential restoration parcels.
- Ten potential financial mechanisms were identified. A Strategy for the promotion of private sector involvement is in design.
- The final day of Geneva Peace Week (11/2020) was devoted entirely to topics in environmental peacebuilding. WWF's IKI Parks & Peace project was discussed in the session “Conservation and Peacebuilding: Towards greater collaboration” as a good example of conservation and peacebuilding work.
- “Voices for Peace and Conservation, the Podcast” seeks to make visible the stories and practices from the communities, organizations and individuals working at the nexus of peace and conservation. The podcast is a collaboration of the PeaceNexus Foundation, IUCN, WWF-Germany, and Conservation International. The Parks & Peace project is featured in episode three: “Guerrilla Fighter to Environmental Peacekeeper”. The episode tells the story of Isabela, a young woman, an ex-guerrilla fighter, who actively fought in the Colombia armed conflict and with the peace agreement and the country's transition to democracy engaged in conservation activities. Also, the podcast has an episode with Colombia's former President Juan Manuel Santos and 2016 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, where he provides his exclusive view and experience on the links between nature conservation and peacebuilding.