Posted on 22 diciembre 2020
All the progress we have made in protected areas in recent years was possible thanks to joint work with National Parks and Julia's unwavering commitment. So we insist on our gratitude and respect for their work.
Just days before the end of the year, we received news about a change of direction in the Natural National Parks Authority, after 16 years under the leadership of Julia Miranda. So, before looking back at the road travelled in 2020, we once again want to express our enormous gratitude to Julia Miranda and her team for their tireless and committed work leading the institution. Under her leadership, the National Parks System consolidated 59 Protected Areas, five of which were recognized in IUCN’s Green List of Protected Areas for their excellent management and conservation achievements.
Similarly, her management resulted in the designation of two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Julia's leadership within Redparques and her regional and global roles in IUCN’s Global Commission on Protected Areas has promoted Colombia's participation in global technical exchanges to benefit the managers of our protected areas, resulting in highly skilled professionals in one of the best protected areas systems in the world. She also leaves in place an ongoing process to build a policy for the National Protected Areas Systems (SINAP), processes for creating new protected areas in the years to come, and long-term financing initiatives such as Heritage Colombia.
All the progress we have made in protected areas in recent years was possible thanks to our joint work with National Parks and to Julia’s unwavering commitment. We express our most sincere gratitude and respect for her work.
So, how did we do this year?
We began focused on building a new public policy for the National System of Protected Areas (SINAP). And despite the new routines set in place by the pandemic, we fulfilled it. Following a process led by the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, the National Planning Department, and the National Natural Parks Authority—in which we participate as executors through the GEF-SINAP project—the policy is now in its sectoral ratification phase and awaiting approval by the first quarter of 2021.
The development of this policy, which involved indigenous, afro-colombian, campesino, palenquero, and raizal communities, is expected to reduce the risk of natural losses and help update SINAP’s conservation goals. It is also expected to improve the way in which citizens and sectors pay back the benefits they receive from protected areas.
On the other hand, this year we celebrated, with much pride, the inclusion of Chingaza National Park and the Malpelo Flora and Fauna Sanctuary in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Green List, a recognition that certifies that these two protected areas meet global management standards related to good governance, management effectiveness, and the achievement of conservation results.
Now Colombia has five of the seven Green List protected areas located in Latin America! For us, this news was very positive, since WWF led the integration of global management standards for the consolidation of SINAP with the global framework agreement with IUCN to promote the list.
This 2020, we also supported the establishment of new protected areas: a regional one (DRMI Laguna de La Primavera, in Vichada) and multiple private areas (a registry of Civil Society Natural Reserves that contributed more than 10,000 hectares to conservation in the country).
Another achievement worth sharing is the completion of SINAP Colombia’s Protected Areas Planning Guide, a key instrument to ensure that all SINAP categories can effectively manage their territories, taking into account that 50% of their net area has no planning tools. With this guide, more than 30 protected areas in all categories have already been assessed, including—for the first time in the country—a National Integrated Management District (Cinaruco).