In-country success stories
Scaling up Multilateral Partnership for Deforestation in Colombia
In 2018, Norway extended its partnership with Colombia to halt deforestation, by renewing the Joint Declaration of Intent to ensure continued funding and technical expertise to protect some of the most valuable, life-supporting, and biodiverse forests in the world.
Norway’s renewed commitment comes at a crucial moment due to the new development challenges associated with a recent peace agreement and associated land speculation in Colombia, which has seen deforestation increase from approximately 120,000 hectares in 2013 to near 220,000 hectares in 2017. These numbers may have been higher if Colombia had not received international support from Germany, Norway, and the United Kingdom in 2015 as part of the Amazon Vision Program. This USD 100 million program promotes a new model of development in the Colombian Amazon region and aims to address deforestation by establishing appropriate incentives for communities and sectors to protect and sustainably use the Amazon and improve Colombia’s governance and capacity to manage forests sustainably.
The Colombian Amazon region comprises an area of 45.8 million hectares that is critical in regulating the global climate and is home to diverse ecosystems and
hundreds of indigenous communities.
Despite covering 40% of Colombia, the region contributes only 1% to the national GDP and maintains high rates of poverty. Therefore, a program that invests to halt deforestation and provide environmentally sustainable economic alternatives to local peoples is considered an important mechanism to develop the region.
To complement at a national level the work of the Amazon Vision program, Germany, Norway, and the United Kingdom signed the Joint Declaration of Intent (JDI) to contribute close to USD 300 million in total. A key component of the JDI is a Payment for Performance mechanism that includes an ambitious package of cross-sectoral actions and strengthened self-governance of indigenous territories to reduce deforestation and promote sustainable development.
It includes two modalities of work: one that rewards Colombia for achieving policy milestones that drive cross‑sectoral actions to reduce deforestation and another that directly rewards the reduction of deforestation. The complex reality of a changing land use environment, related to the peace agreement and new dynamics of land speculation, required a mechanism that was flexible and quickly adaptable to the evolving environment.
“The development“Colombia is fully committed to increase its efforts to promote the sustainable use of forests and address deforestation drivers by transforming its cattle ranching sector, strengthening its command and control actions, and combating illegal mining, illegal logging, and illegal crops in forestry areas,” said former Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos at COP21. “The promotion of environmentally sustainable economic alternatives is key for reducing deforestation, improving the welfare of the population, and securing a stable and durable peace.”
While Colombia and its partners recognized that this is a slow and complex process, they also identified opportunities and took steps to enhance capacity and cooperation in the near term among the national, subnational, and local bodies and agencies responsible for tackling deforestation. This was particularly necessary as deforestation rates spiked following the signing of the peace agreement.
On April 10, 2018, Colombian President Santos and Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg agreed to additional near-term efforts and collaboration to address deforestation. This includes enhanced support from Norway beyond 2020 under “modality 1” of the JDI for deforestation enforcement actions and reforms. Within that extension, Norway stands ready to contribute up to USD 50 million per year
until 2025, based on achieved emission reductions, and to consider extending the partnership thereafter until 2030.
The GGGI Colombia team has been an active partner since the inception of the Amazon Vision Program, supporting implementation of the JDI and the negotiation to extend that agreement beyond 2020. The key role that GGGI played has been recognized by both the Colombian and Norwegian governments, who have encouraged GGGI to expand its support to the Ministries of Agriculture and the Treasury to better service and facilitate crosssectoral advising.
“The development“GGGI recognized that deforestation and impacts it has on GHG emissions, provision of environmental services, and economic opportunities are critical development challenges for Colombia,” said GGGI Colombia Country Representative, Carolina Jaramillo. “Working in collaboration with government stakeholders, and international partners will drive the green growth transition Colombia is committed to taking.”
Colombia will continue to maintain and leverage its close and successful partnerships with Norway and GGGI to adapt to changing environments and complex challenges of deforestation in a developing country that is reinventing itself after decades of an internal conflict.