Roughly the size of Texas and Oklahoma combined, Colombia is the second most biologically diverse country on Earth, harboring one of every 10 species of plants and animals on the planet. Colombia has the largest bird list of any country: 1,870 bird species! Colombia also ranks first in the world in number of amphibian species and second in butterflies and flowering plants.
Over the past decade Colombia has emerged from years of turmoil to become a vibrant, democratic country, an epicenter for business and an increasingly popular tourist destination. The nation is working to chart a path toward greater peace and prosperity for its people, more than a third of whom live below the poverty line. The country faces enormous challenges as it grows—ensuring clean water, increasing food production and building infrastructure like roads, dams, energy and mining. Done poorly, this growth may put at risk some of most ecologically important lands and waters on the planet.
The Nature Conservancy has been working in Colombia for the past three decades by building alliances, sharing scientific tools and supporting the implementation of innovative land and water protection strategies. From using investment strategies to protect freshwater, to involving the private sector to jump start protected area declaration, to helping ranchers intensify production and boost conservation, to devising ways to integrate conservation needs into large infrastructure projects, the Conservancy’s projects in Colombia are crafting, testing and exporting innovative conservation tools to harmonize conservation and development.
STRATEGIES IN ACTION
Our work in the country has evolved in tandem with the Conservancy’s institutional mission and framework. The scale of our work has expanded from site-based projects to a whole-landscape approach that integrates land (protected areas, indigenous territories, productive lands), freshwater and infrastructure development. Our partnerships have grown from alliances within the environmental sector to overarching collaborations with a wide range of stakeholders across all sectors (environmental, private, public, business and industries). Our funding sources have transitioned from a high dependency on US-based sources to a variety of funders that include Colombian individuals and businesses, local government agencies, as well as bilateral and multilateral institutions.
Fresh Water: Use nature to secure freshwater for most at-risk cities.
Lands: Promote productive landscapes that incorporate nature’s value and increase social, environmental and economic benefits
· Sustainable Cattle Ranching: Providing ranchers acces to financing and technical assistance to raise cattle in ways that lessen its impact on the environment while boosting production and incomes.
· Green Growth Compacts in Meta and Caquetá: Signed agreement between public and private sector actors committing to a sustainable agenda. GGCs allows the Conservancy to focus on what we do best—bringing pragmatic conservation solutions and building transformational partnerships across sectors—to create the enabling conditions for sustainable production to become the norm, rather than the exception.
Smart Infrastructure: Design major energy, mining, transportation infrastructure to have no net impact on natural capital.
How the technical and financial Alliance “Agua Somos” is leading conservation in the Chingaza Paramo.
Conservancy works for the Magdalena River Basin, in order for it to be managed in an integrated and sustainable way for the development and well-being of colombians. Find out more about what we do!
See how the Conservancy is helping ensure clean drinking water for Colombia’s capital — by protecting the city’s watersheds.