Funding for Conservation of Protected Areas

July 13, 2022
Natalia Nuñez
Published in
Asuntos Legales, La República

Over the last few years, the National Government has carried out various initiatives to consolidate the policy for the conservation of protected areas in Colombia, representing an important step forward in the protection and conservation of Colombia’s environmental heritage. The creation of the Permanence Financing Program (PFP) or fund for protected areas should be highlighted.

What is the Permanence Financing Program (PFP)?

The Permanence Financing Program (PFP) was defined by the National Government as an agreement and fund for the financing of the first stage of the initiative called “Heritage Colombia” (an initiative that originated at the 2015 United Nations Summit on Climate Change and whose main objective is the conservation of Colombia’s environmental and natural capital).

For the first stage, US$245 million will be allocated and will have as its main scope combating climate change through:

  1. the creation of new land and marine protected areas;

  1. as well as the conservation and effective protection and/or expansion of existing ones.

This first stage will be implemented over a 10-year period and will cover some 32 million hectares of protected areas in Colombia.

What areas would be covered in the first stage?

According to the National Government’s announcement, the following is planned for the first stage:

  1. Expand three existing protected areas: the Malpelo Flora and Fauna Sanctuary, the Yuruparí-Malpelo National Integrated Management District and the Acandí, Playon, Playona Fauna Sanctuary.

  1. Prioritize the Caribbean, Orinoco, Andes, Pacific Coastal Marine and Amazonian mosaics.

  1. Declare two marine protected areas: (a) Beata Ridge (Caribbean) and (b) Submarine Hills and Rises (Pacific).

Why is it important to continue with this initiative?

This initiative, together with other related initiatives such as the declaration of 30% of the country’s maritime areas as protected areas, is a sign of Colombia’s commitment, effort, and significant contribution against climate change at a global level.

Therefore, it is vital to continue with this project in order to guarantee the protection and conservation of the country’s protected areas and mitigate the extinction of species of special importance and continue contributing as a State in the fight against climate change through carbon capture.

With this, Colombia could consolidate in time as a carbon neutral country. This would have a direct impact on the protection of the planet and future generations.

What do you think are the challenges of applying this initiative in practice?

Among the main challenges I consider:

  1. Achieving effective institutional control in those territories that are difficult to access by land and sea, due to lack of infrastructure and/or the presence of illegal armed groups. As we know, most of the territories with such characteristics are impacted and subjected to illegal developments and activities that negatively impact the environment (illegal mining, illegal felling, indiscriminate exploitation of resources, etc.).

  1. Ensuring that the next administration gives effective priority and continuity to the first stage and the initiative in general, without this implying a disincentive or slowdown of consolidated projects or investments with permitted land use.

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