With its rich, diverse ecosystems ranging from high mountains to wetlands, forests and coastal marine ecosystems, for Colombians, nature’s contributions take on different forms. Yet, drivers of biodiversity loss such as deforestation, erosion, overgrazing and increasingly severe competition over natural resources threaten Colombia’s environmental sustainability, affecting not only the functionality of these ecosystems but also the relationships among species.
The assessment has been the product of a three-year-long effort to build Colombia’s capacity in support of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). Led by the Humboldt Institute in partnership with UNEP-WCMC's National Ecosystem Assessment Initiative and supported by the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety through the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Network (BES-Net), this assessment marks the first of several to be launched by countries in 2021.
Echoing this understanding, Hernando García Martínez, Director General of the Humboldt Institute in Colombia said, “This assessment shows us that biodiversity is the country’s biggest asset, for its economy and its development. This is the first step. We need the guidance emerging from this assessment to be mobilized in dialogue, not just within the environmental sector but across all other sectors.”
The assessment points to the need for building greater institutional capacity among not just environmental institutions but also other bodies responsible for sustainable development and local governance. In the Colombian context, experts noted that conflicts arising over issues of mining or the agro-industry demand greater attention and awareness. Equipping these actors with skills and training, as well as budgets and accountability for implementation can ensure that policies and programmes are well-coordinated and impactful.
Following this launch, the assessment will be disseminated widely among decision-makers, helping to build capacity and creating the conditions for the assessment’s findings to be adopted and used across sectors.
Carlos Eduardo Correa, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, summed up the event by noting the Ministry’s appreciation for this extraordinary effort, “We appreciate the collective effort of 105 experts from different disciplines and different regions across the country. This assessment will help Colombian society in knowing where we are and where we are going, offering us policy options for biodiversity that combines conservation and growth.”
Photo by Robin Noguier on Unsplash Image courtesy of Humboldt Institute Photo by Juan Camilo Guarin P on Unsplash Photo by Reiseuhu on Unsplash Photo by alan bajura on Unsplash Image courtesy of Humboldt Institute