Funding is needed to match government commitments that will secure 15 million hectares in an effective and sustainable national protected area system, while securing peace and sustainable development in the landscapes that surround them.
A unique opportunity to help Colombia’s people and landscapes recover from conflict, and secure a sustainable and prosperous future.
From high mountains to mangroves and beaches, dense forests including the Amazon, to open savannas, Colombia is home to an extraordinary variety of life. It is also home to over 45 million people, recovering from 52 years of civil conflict.
Colombia’s extensive protected areas have been damaged by the conflict. They hold the highest abundance of natural resources, and were often targeted for illegal resource extraction as well as deforestation for mining and agriculture. However, they retain immense value for Colombia in building a peaceful future, tackling climate change and providing sustainable development opportunities for Colombian peoples.
Heritage Colombia is a 20-million-hectare vision of future-proof protected areas, surrounding landscapes restored, and sustainable development bringing peace and prosperity to people. A perfect example of government and civil society cooperation.
Heritage (Herencia) Colombia is an initiative led by the government through its National Parks Agency and Ministry of Environment & Natural Resources, with philanthropic and NGO support complementing government commitment. WWF and WCS have a longstanding presence in Colombia and are now working with the government, other NGOs and international partners to develop the detailed scope and mechanisms that will make Heritage Colombia a reality. Trillion Trees supported WWF and WCS to work on the design of the initiative leading to Serranía de Chiribiquete becoming a National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The first phase of Heritage Colombia seeks to secure $100 million of international public and private funding, to be matched by a $100 million commitment from the Government of Colombia. This will enable the initiative to launch across nine priority landscapes that include protected areas and their surrounding zones, representing Colombia’s incredible biodiversity.
As well as ensuring that Heritage Colombia has the technical support and local capacity to deliver on its immediate restoration and protection objectives, a key objective is structuring the financial mechanisms so that the initiative can continue to support Colombia’s protected areas and people for decades to come. WWF and WCS are providing support to Heritage Colombia both in design of the programmes to restore protected areas and providing sustainable development opportunities for local communities, as well as structuring the financial mechanisms aligned to the long-term ambition.
Heritage Colombia has the potential to become a groundbreaking model that not only ensures the long-term management of protected areas and their ecosystem services, but also promotes the inclusion of social benefits and the governance systems necessary to make the initiative sustainable across a diverse set of landscapes.