Green recovery and peace – a dialogue between Germany and Colombia

A series of podcasts is examining ways to a green recovery from the Covid-19 crisis as well as opportunities for lasting peace in Colombia.

The five-part podcast series ‘De la recuperación verde, a la paz’ (‘From a green recovery to peace’) utilises a dialogue format based on German-Colombian relations and cooperation to bring leading experts from both countries together with the aim of tackling the major issues and challenges now facing the global community. These issues include climate change, the loss of biodiversity, the coronavirus pandemic and efforts to maintain peace.

Interviews with hand-picked experts 

The first episode of these Spanish-language podcasts addresses the concept of a ‘green recovery’ from the coronavirus pandemic. In this episode, Dr Veronika Grimm, Member of the German Council of Economic Experts, an academic body that advises on economic policy issues, talks to Nicolás Galarza, Colombia’s Deputy Minister for the Environment. 

In the second podcast, Colombian biologist Dr Brigitte Baptiste and German peace researcher Dr Stefan Peters discuss the interrelationships between biodiversity conservation and lasting peace. This is also why broadcaster Deutsche Welle describes the podcast as a “search for ways to peace and a green recovery” in Columbia and Germany.

In the third podcast in the series, SPD politician Robert Drewnicki, part of the team in the Senate Office of the Governing Mayor of Berlin, and Carolina Urrutia Vásquez, Regional Secretary for the Environment in the Office of the Mayor of Bogotá, talk about green spaces, public transport and ensuring an attractive programme of arts and culture in the two capital cities. 

The fourth podcast episode addresses approaches to the gradual, fair and socially responsible exit from coal in Germany and Colombia, with guests Sandra Sandoval, Colombia’s Deputy Minister for Mining, and Dr Barbara Praetorius, former Member of the German Commission on Growth, Structural Change and Employment (colloquially known as the ‘Coal Commission’ in Germany). 

The concluding podcast features Dr Dirk Messner, President of the German Federal Environment Agency, and Paula Caballero, lead proponent of the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs) and recipient of the German Sustainability Award. This final episode turns to focus on international cooperation, and the values of a global community that seeks to achieve the goals of sustainable and peaceful coexistence.

Broadcasting online and via radio

The entire five-part podcast series is now available on the major streaming platforms (Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Spreaker). Alongside the roughly 50-minute long versions of the episodes, short synopses have also been broadcast on national Colombian radio to ensure they reach a wide audience.

Distribution via the Colombian broadcaster in situ is also planned. The episodes will make interesting listening not just for environmental policy experts but also for audiences with a general interest in the environment and sustainable development. In response to the success of this series, work is now proceeding on translating the podcasts into German, with the aim of expanding the audience for these interesting talks from Colombia to listeners here in Germany. Publication of the German-language episodes is scheduled for the second half of 2022.

Background: peace as the basis for sustainable development and environmental protection

As a country, Colombia is a richly faceted land that possesses a wealth of natural resources and an exceptional degree of species diversity. Home to ten percent of all animal and plant species, the country is recognised as one of the planet’s 17 ‘megadiverse’ countries. Steady economic growth over the last few years has given rise to an expanding middle class and urban modernisation. At the same time, Colombia is deeply divided: social inequality is considered to be one of the major drivers of a half-century period of conflict that has claimed many victims and created major rifts in Colombian society. 

With the aim of resolving this conflict, a peace treaty was signed between the Colombian government and the FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) guerillas in 2016. Lasting peace is considered to be a basic condition for sustainable development in Colombia, which was hard-hit both socially and economically by the coronavirus pandemic.

The IKI has used initiatives like the ‘Protected areas and peace’ project to target these issues: the project helps to reduce or resolve land usage and land ownership conflicts in Colombia, thereby improving both the management of protected areas and the quality of life for their local populations. As such, the IKI helps to promote peace and the conservation of biodiversity.

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