Media Invitation to High level event: Colombia - Peace, Climate change and forests

Media invitation to the high level event: Colombia in Peace: the role of natural resources, rural development and forests.

Introduction:  The peace accord newly signed between the Colombian government and Farc-EP, and recently approved by Colombia's Congress, brings along opportunities for Colombia to build a sustainable future, pursuing a green growth that does not go at the expense of one of the world's most diverse rainforests. At the same time the peace process brings along new challenges. How will Colombia face these opportunities and challenges? The governments of Colombia and Norway invite to discussion.

Where:  Astrup Fearnley Museum, Tjuvholmen, Oslo

When:  Tuesday 13th December, 14:00 – 17:00hrs (Note: registration from 13:30).

Organizers:  Government of Colombia and Government of Norway

Participants:  Luis Gilberto Murillo, Colombia's Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Rafael Pardo, Colombia's Minister of Post Conflict and Vidar Helgesen, Norway's Minister of Climate and Environment. Together with Alejandro Gamboa, Director of the President's International Cooperation Agency Colombia and representatives from Colombia's civil society, indigenous peoples, producer organisations and the private sector.

Moderator:  Jan Egeland (Norwegian Refugee Council)

 

RSVP HERE

Program of the event

The event will be live streamed HERE

 

Background
The peace accord was signed by the Colombian Government and the FARC-EP November 24th 2016, and approved in Congress and endorsed by the Senate the first days of December, ending a 52-year armed conflict that has killed more than two hundred thousand people, and driven millions of people away from their homes. These days, the Colombian people is turning the page of history; what are their hopes and aspirations for a sustainable Colombia in peace?

 

The role of natural resources and environmental sustainability for a lasting peace in Colombia

Colombian authorities look at peace as a unique opportunity for Colombia to preserve Colombia's biodiversity and valuable ecosystems. Green growth and sustainable development are a key part of President Santos' vision of a stable and lasting peace. Environmental degradation caused by the conflict has been estimated to have cost Colombia up close to USD 2.2 billion annually. With a peace agreement, it is expected that government presence will be strengthened in the territories and the authorities will be better equipped to deal with the illegal driving forces behind environmental degradation and deforestation.

However, the decades’ long conflict has also in many ways contributed to protecting Colombia’s unique natural forests from major infrastructure developments, large-scale agriculture and/or other types of investments. Experience from other countries shows that when conflicts end, there is great danger that the pressure on the forest and natural resources increases significantly. This risk is also present in Colombia.

 

A peace agreement safeguarding the environment.

The Colombian peace deal is one of the first ones in the world that put emphasis on environmental sustainability and -land use as fundamental principles. More exactly, the peace agreement highlights explicitly principles of sustainable management of natural resources, including forest conservation and protection of important ecosystems as basis for the rural reform agenda and for reducing poverty in the countryside. Many would say that this may reduce the risk that Colombia will revert to conflict and achieve lasting peace.

Against this backdrop and in the margins of the Nobel peace prize ceremony in Oslo the Ministry of environment and the high commissary of post-conflict of Colombia and the Ministry of Climate and Environment of Norway invite for a public dialogue about the role of natural resources and environmental sustainability for a lasting peace in Colombia. The forum will include participation by Colombian civil society, communities and private sector, for them to share expectations and views about the role of Colombia's environment and natural resources play in peace-building and rural development in post-conflict phase that Colombia now is facing.

 

Facts - Partnership to protect Colombia’s forests

In 2015, Colombia, Norway, Germany and the United Kingdom signed a Joint Declaration to strengthen collaboration on climate and forest in Colombia. Norway has committed to a total of 1.8 billion Norwegian Crones within 2020. Most of this contribution will be payment for reduced greenhouse gas emissions from the reduction of deforestation, and paid thus only if Colombia manage to reduce deforestation. Colombia has prepared a strategy for the sustainable development of the Amazon, known as the Amazon vision. In June 2016, Norway, Germany and the United Kingdom contributed with six million US Dollars to Colombia for emissions reductions from reduced deforestation. A substantial portion of the contribution goes to the Amazon vision. This strategy will be implemented in some of the territories in the Amazon that have been hard hit by the conflict. 60 percent of the contribution will benefit local communities.

Colombia's rainforests cover an area of almost 600,000 square kilometres- almost 1.5 time the area of Norway. The Colombian Amazon makes up three quarters of the forest. About half of Colombia's greenhouse gas emissions come from the forest and agricultural sector.