4. Developing knowledge for better decision making
Understanding the real state of our natural surroundings, their potential, factors that threaten them and their future prospects is crucial when routes to sustainability are being drawn up. A lack of information about the ecosystem and the impact of human intervention, on the other hand, can result in profoundly negative impacts on that ecosystem and future sustainability.
The Orinoco Basin faces huge pressures from expanded development projects from infrastructure and agro-industrial projects, mining and the extraction of hydrocarbons, among other factors. All of these initiatives will lead to large scale transformation and thus we focused considerable efforts this year to diagnose the state of health of the Orinoco basin. Parties of the most diverse nature joined forces throughout the year to support the publication of the Orinoco Basin Health Report, which not only involved an evaluation that was conducted with the greatest rigor but also provides key information for consolidating a path towards the sustainable development of the basin. One notable success of this initiative is that it now offers a methodological model that can be replicated elsewhere in the country and replicated in the basin thus serving to monitor impacts and target actions for more effective conservation.
Puerto Carreño, Vichada
Similarly, an analysis and construction process were undertaken in Eastern Antioquia for a Green Growth Plan. This initiative, which was carried out in conjunction with CDKN, Cornare and Fundación Natura, among others, and analyzed climate risk and mitigation data, crosschecked against the socioeconomic context of the region. This enabled a climate-compatible competitiveness road map to be produced, which today has almost been put into practice. This part of the country has great economic potential, given its biological, geographical and social conditions. But this depends on low-carbon development that can be resilient in light of climate variability associated with climate change.
With the same goal in mind, and after conducting a profound analysis of the vulnerability of protected areas in the Amazon and its well-known importance to mankind, the Amazonia Climate Change and Protected Areas Observatory was launched this year, with the support of experts from eight countries. This is a pragmatic tool for sharing information among all interested parties in countries with influence in the region.
A community monitoring system was also set up in different sites, and this proved to be extremely useful for involving communities directly in species conservation, both in the Amazon Andean Foothills and in the Inírida River Fluvial Star. One area where this initiative has progressed has been in the conservation of ornamental fish, a factor that is one of the principal points for consolidating the Inírida Ramsar site.
Finally, and since knowledge should also include legal matters, together with multiple partners, we have conducted various analyses and accompanied numerous processes in the sphere of government legislative proposals relating to mining and the environment, with a view to ensuring that conservation elements were incorporated into them. This year, for example, we have promoted substantial progress toward Colombia ratifying the Minamata Convention, which would equip the country with legal and operational tools to control the importation of mercury into Colombia. Training sessions were held to this end for various political actors, and accompaniment was provided in drawing up a road map to promote the ratification of this important convention. A similar process was carried out by the organization in relation to the Illegal Mining Law, which is in the course of being approproved by the legislative power. In this same vein, we are working together to push forward the ratification of the Paris Agreement and Climate Change Law.