USA/BOGOTA – The World Bank board of directors approved an additional grant of US$18.4 million from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) for the Forest Conservation and Sustainability in the Heart of the Colombian Amazon Project. The project promotes the defense of biodiversity and the environment in that region of the country.
This new grant will strengthen and expand activities of the current project to improve forest, institutional and community governance, and to promote sustainable land use to reduce deforestation in the Colombian Amazon.
“The project implements a comprehensive intervention in the territory, based on an approach of ecosystem connectivity between different protected areas, indigenous territories, complementary conservation strategies and areas for sustainable production,” said Alberto Galán, executive director of Natural Heritage, the agency responsible for managing the grant, in coordination with the ministry of the environment and sustainable development and other partner entities. “The Heart of the Amazon project has built a process that has made it possible to link natural and biocultural biodiversity with the foundations of sustainable development for the country.”
According to the Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies (IDEAM), some 74,000 hectares of Amazon forests were deforested in the first months of 2020. This threatens biodiversity in this region of global importance, as well as connectivity with the Andean region, which is crucial for the provision of climate regulation and water supply services. The project represents a positive intervention to contribute to protecting this territory. The additional financing seeks to expand the intervention areas and reach more beneficiaries within the framework of a long-term collaborative commitment.
“With this project, we want to contribute to reducing deforestation in this important area of the country, benefiting local communities and all Colombians,” said Ulrich Zachau, World Bank director for Colombia and Venezuela. “It is a privilege to be part of this conservation effort that brings together several national and regional public agencies, as well as civil society and community organizations.”
The project began in 2015 with a US$10.4 million GEF grant. In 2017, it received a second grant for US$12 million.