Big Wins 2021
© WWF Colombia

Dear Friends

We are living a critical moment for humanity marked by the rapid destruction of nature, climate change, and vast social inequality. These phenomena are making it increasingly hard for us to achieve sustainable development for everyone’s benefit. However, we can still generate the change we need if we work together with determination, since 2021 marks the beginning of a decade of action to change our relationship with nature. This is a period in which governments, development and multilateral agencies, communities, non-governmental organizations, businesses, guilds, and citizens have the responsibility of finding, financing, and implementing nature-based solutions that allow us to face these global, national, and local challenges.

The new global scenario—derived from the current sanitary, economic, and social situation—has galvanized greater commitment from society, businesses, and the banking sector concerning the climate crisis and the loss of biodiversity and ecosystems. This momentum helps us act with determination, opening new roads to face these challenges.

In line with this context, in 2021 we updated our Strategic Framework with an ambitious vision for 2030—reverting the trend on biodiversity loss, halving greenhouse gas emissions, and recovering ecosystems to guarantee a nature-positive future for nature, wellbeing for people, and reduced climate risks.

This vision incorporates the challenges of integrating global agendas on food production, climate change, and biodiversity, since they are inextricably linked and will define the future of the planet. Our Strategic Framework also includes comprehensive decisions and solutions based on nature and communities to encourage a regenerative economy that emboldens sustainability and social inclusion.

At WWF, we are committed to promoting, summoning, and collaborating with courage in the search of comprehensive and long-lasting solutions guided by the principles that characterize each action and step we take as an organization. That is why this year we endorsed our values at the global level, and WWF Colombia declared its commitment with honoring and disseminating them, turning them into standards for our daily work and life. Courage, respect, collaboration, and integrity are the pillars of what we do.

During this year we mobilized the adoption of a new deal for nature, health, and human welfare with participation from different public, private, and community stakeholders at the national, regional, and local levels. Under this premise, we achieved actions for the conservation and restoration of our terrestrial, freshwater, and coastal-marine ecosystems in the Amazon, Orinoco, Andes, and Pacific regions. We made progress in the designation and effective management of protected areas and their conservation under international standards, supported the construction of the policy for protected areas and its financial mechanisms, and encouraged local economies based on biodiversity use and ecosystem regeneration to reduce deforestation and community vulnerability.

Additionally, in 2021 we took important steps to foster a citizen culture that reduces waste and includes young people, communities, and different social groups in general to summon others to act jointly for the change we need.

Likewise, through our actions in 2021, we demonstrated our commitment with a more just and equitable society that respects life in all its forms of expression. We supported the Peace Agreement, by working on its implementation in different territories, and the Escazu Agreement, which seeks to enhance environmental justice and protect social and environmental leaders. Likewise, we promoted the protection of the rights of nature in areas like the Atrato River and ethnic territories, and we sought the stabilization of the agricultural frontier and the recognition of the rights of campesino communities in different regions of the country.

2021 has been another atypical year with new challenges and adjustments, and WWF Colombia has also been touched by these transformations. This year we had a major change in the direction of our organization. On behalf of our entire team and our board of directors, we want to recognize the leadership and contributions that Mary Lou Higgins made during her 30 years of dedication. She founded the pillars of the organization though a strategic vision based on respect and the establishment of alliances with partners and a highly talented group of associates committed to generating the change we need.

We invite you to carefully read our big wins for 2021. They are a gateway for us to energetically start 2022 and the decade in which we are all summoned to act decisively, in cooperation, and with integrity and courage.

We wish you a good end of the year and a happy holiday season with health and wellbeing for all of us and our families.

 

Sandra Valenzuela

Executive Director WWF COLOMBIA

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FRESHWATER

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We had the opportunity to strengthen our work around the conservation and sustainable use of water and its biodiversity

This year, despite the challenges we faced because of the pandemic, we had the opportunity to strengthen our work on conservation and the sustainable use of water and its biodiversity through joint efforts with different partners. In the Estrella Fluvial Inírida Ramsar site, where we have worked for more than 10 years conserving the source of the Orinoco River and strengthening territorial governance with local communities, we published the Ramsar site’s Environmental Management Plan and information about the progress made by local communities and key partners in its
implementation.

Further north, in the Caribbean region, 2021 marked a milestone in the Water Stewardship Platform (PCA in Spanish) of the Frío and Sevilla rivers—a space created to encourage meetings and coordination among the region’s stakeholders for the conservation of water resources with support from WWF Colombia. This year we were able to turn previous dialogues and planning exercises into concrete actions.

In May, the platform’s 19 founding institutions ratified their commitment and 11 new entities and community organizations decided to join this initiative. The group started its first collective action projects, including the Restoration Project for the Rural District of San Pedro de la Sierra, which seeks to recover 30 hectares of land in the Palmichal and Guandusaca micro-basins, which feed the upper Frío River. This process led to the creation of a community-managed plant nursery run by the Mujeres Rurales Construyendo Futuro Foundation. The foundation reproduces native species that are later used in restoration processes.

Additionally, as part of a new partnership with the Dutch embassy, we carried out the first summit for banana, coffee, and oil palm growers—among other productive sectors—to share their experiences concerning water management. Likewise, with support from WWF Germany, we made progress on an initiative for enhanced solid waste management.

This year, despite the challenges we faced because of the pandemic, we had the opportunity to strengthen our work on conservation and the sustainable use of water and its biodiversity through joint efforts with different partners. In the Estrella Fluvial Inírida Ramsar site, where we have worked for more than 10 years conserving the source of the Orinoco River and strengthening territorial governance with local communities, we published the Ramsar site’s Environmental Management Plan and information about the progress made by local communities and key partners in its
implementation.

Further north, in the Caribbean region, 2021 marked a milestone in the Water Stewardship Platform (PCA in Spanish) of the Frío and Sevilla rivers—a space created to encourage meetings and coordination among the region’s stakeholders for the conservation of water resources with support from WWF Colombia. This year we were able to turn previous dialogues and planning exercises into concrete actions.

In May, the platform’s 19 founding institutions ratified their commitment and 11 new entities and community organizations decided to join this initiative. The group started its first collective action projects, including the Restoration Project for the Rural District of San Pedro de la Sierra, which seeks to recover 30 hectares of land in the Palmichal and Guandusaca micro-basins, which feed the upper Frío River. This process led to the creation of a community-managed plant nursery run by the Mujeres Rurales Construyendo Futuro Foundation. The foundation reproduces native species that are later used in restoration processes.

Additionally, as part of a new partnership with the Dutch embassy, we carried out the first summit for banana, coffee, and oil palm growers—among other productive sectors—to share their experiences concerning water management. Likewise, with support from WWF Germany, we made progress on an initiative for enhanced solid waste management.

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PROTECTED AREAS

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Colombia has a new public policy of the National System of Protected Areas


© Pablo Mejía/ WWF Colombia

Starting this year, the country has a new public policy for the National System of Protected Areas (SINAP) that will serve as a roadmap to effectively manage and conserve this heritage, which belongs to all Colombians, during the next decade. This policy is a goal for which we have worked two years as implementing partners of the IDB-backed GEF SINAP Project, alongside the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development (MADS), Colombia’s National Parks Authority (PNN), and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

Several efforts were needed to develop this policy, including three public consultations and the involvement of nearly 1,000 Colombians who work, live, or constantly interact with protected areas. The process culminated in October with the policy’s adoption in a CONPES document and the celebration of the Pact of Leticia’s Third Presidential Summit. The policy aims to revert biodiversity loss in protected areas, guarantee the environmental and social connectivity of ecosystems, improve planning and management, and generate greater equity among those who work for conservation and those who benefit from it. The Heritage Colombia Program will serve as the new policy’s financial mechanism.

We also celebrate the publication of SINAP Colombia’s Management Planning Guide for Protected Areas, a document that presents standards so that all SINAP categories—which represent 30 million hectares, or 16% of the country’s land and close to 14% of its marine area—can effectively plan and manage Colombians’ natural and cultural heritage.


© Pablo Mejía/ WWF Colombia

Starting this year, the country has a new public policy for the National System of Protected Areas (SINAP) that will serve as a roadmap to effectively manage and conserve this heritage, which belongs to all Colombians, during the next decade. This policy is a goal for which we have worked two years as implementing partners of the IDB-backed GEF SINAP Project, alongside the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development (MADS), Colombia’s National Parks Authority (PNN), and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

Several efforts were needed to develop this policy, including three public consultations and the involvement of nearly 1,000 Colombians who work, live, or constantly interact with protected areas. The process culminated in October with the policy’s adoption in a CONPES document and the celebration of the Pact of Leticia’s Third Presidential Summit. The policy aims to revert biodiversity loss in protected areas, guarantee the environmental and social connectivity of ecosystems, improve planning and management, and generate greater equity among those who work for conservation and those who benefit from it. The Heritage Colombia Program will serve as the new policy’s financial mechanism.

We also celebrate the publication of SINAP Colombia’s Management Planning Guide for Protected Areas, a document that presents standards so that all SINAP categories—which represent 30 million hectares, or 16% of the country’s land and close to 14% of its marine area—can effectively plan and manage Colombians’ natural and cultural heritage.

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SPECIES

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Iconic species such as the river dolphin, the jaguar and the spectacled bear were at the center of our work in 2021

Emblematic species like the river dolphin, the jaguar, and the spectacled bear were at the center of our work in 2021. After more than a year facing the challenges posed by the pandemic, including the difficulties of doing conservation work virtually, we resumed our fieldwork and marked important milestones in Colombia and the region for the protection of river dolphins.

As part of the South American River Dolphin Initiative (SARDI)—led by Faunagua, Omacha Foundation, Prodelphinus, Solinia, Mamirauá Institute, Aqualie Institute, and WWF—we participated in expeditions that covered 2,816 kilometers along the rivers of the Amazon and Orinoco regions of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela.

In Colombia, Omacha Foundation and WWF jointly carried out the 2021 Guaviare Expedition, in which 20 researchers embarked on a 10-day voyage to analyze the abundance of river dolphins. We covered a stretch of 410 kilometers in an area that for several decades was out of bounds for science due to the armed conflict. There we observed 188 pink dolphins (Inia geoffrensis) and attached a new transmitter on a female. To close the year, we carried out the 2021 Guainía Expedition, a voyage along the Guainía River and the place where it meets the Negro River. During this expedition, which also forms part of SARDI, a team of 26 expeditioners observed 36 dolphins, including two calves.

The jaguar was also a protagonist this year. We promoted the #ReyJaguar campaign in tandem with other WWF offices in Latin America, calling on 14 governments to meet the 2030 Jaguar Plan. We continued our work with the Predio Putumayo Indigenous Reserve, located in the Amazon, and created educational material with the community related to this feline. We also made progress on our capacity building efforts with indigenous elders and teenagers from the Murui-Muina people.




This year left us with unforgettable memories of the spectacled bear, thanks to our constant work with the National Parks Authority in different protected areas of the country. In February, for example, we received thrilling images and stories about an encounter between a group of rangers from Las Hermosas - Gloria Valencia Castaño National Park and a majestic Andean bear. There was yet another encounter in June in this same protected area. Both sightings were possible thanks to the mountain tapir and Andean bear monitoring program led since 2018 by WWF Colombia, the National Parks Authority, and ISAGEN.



In April, we encountered another spectacled bear during our expedition to the Cordillera de los Picachos National Park, in the department of Caquetá. With Palmita Foundation, a group of former FARC guerilla members, and several local organizations, we carried out this expedition to establish the area’s most comprehensive species inventory thus far.

The spectacled bear—an umbrella species—is key for the conservation of ecosystems and countless other species that inhabit the places where it moves. That is why werejoice every time we receive news of bear sightings. May we receive many more in 2022!

Emblematic species like the river dolphin, the jaguar, and the spectacled bear were at the center of our work in 2021. After more than a year facing the challenges posed by the pandemic, including the difficulties of doing conservation work virtually, we resumed our fieldwork and marked important milestones in Colombia and the region for the protection of river dolphins.

As part of the South American River Dolphin Initiative (SARDI)—led by Faunagua, Omacha Foundation, Prodelphinus, Solinia, Mamirauá Institute, Aqualie Institute, and WWF—we participated in expeditions that covered 2,816 kilometers along the rivers of the Amazon and Orinoco regions of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela.

In Colombia, Omacha Foundation and WWF jointly carried out the 2021 Guaviare Expedition, in which 20 researchers embarked on a 10-day voyage to analyze the abundance of river dolphins. We covered a stretch of 410 kilometers in an area that for several decades was out of bounds for science due to the armed conflict. There we observed 188 pink dolphins (Inia geoffrensis) and attached a new transmitter on a female. To close the year, we carried out the 2021 Guainía Expedition, a voyage along the Guainía River and the place where it meets the Negro River. During this expedition, which also forms part of SARDI, a team of 26 expeditioners observed 36 dolphins, including two calves.

The jaguar was also a protagonist this year. We promoted the #ReyJaguar campaign in tandem with other WWF offices in Latin America, calling on 14 governments to meet the 2030 Jaguar Plan. We continued our work with the Predio Putumayo Indigenous Reserve, located in the Amazon, and created educational material with the community related to this feline. We also made progress on our capacity building efforts with indigenous elders and teenagers from the Murui-Muina people.




This year left us with unforgettable memories of the spectacled bear, thanks to our constant work with the National Parks Authority in different protected areas of the country. In February, for example, we received thrilling images and stories about an encounter between a group of rangers from Las Hermosas - Gloria Valencia Castaño National Park and a majestic Andean bear. There was yet another encounter in June in this same protected area. Both sightings were possible thanks to the mountain tapir and Andean bear monitoring program led since 2018 by WWF Colombia, the National Parks Authority, and ISAGEN.



In April, we encountered another spectacled bear during our expedition to the Cordillera de los Picachos National Park, in the department of Caquetá. With Palmita Foundation, a group of former FARC guerilla members, and several local organizations, we carried out this expedition to establish the area’s most comprehensive species inventory thus far.

The spectacled bear—an umbrella species—is key for the conservation of ecosystems and countless other species that inhabit the places where it moves. That is why werejoice every time we receive news of bear sightings. May we receive many more in 2022!

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FINANCIAL MECHANISMS

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We celebrate the official launch of the Herencia Colombia HeCo program


©  Giovanny Pulido

Ensuring the permanence of protected areas forms part of WWF’s DNA. That is why this year we celebrate the launch of the Heritage Colombia Program (HeCo). In October, taking a great step forward in the conservation of the country’s natural heritage, the government corroborated its commitment to the strategy that will enable the implementation of the country’s new policy for protected areas, which we have supported since its early beginnings.

Heritage Colombia seeks to safekeep the benefits that protected areas generate for our survival and to strengthen territorial governance. The program’s main objective is the long-term financing of 20 million hectares of protected areas and conservation landscapes, increasing the coverage, effective management, and governance of Colombia’s National System of Protected Areas (SINAP) and other conservation strategies. The program also seeks to promote sustainable landscapes as spaces for inclusion and peace building that can generate welfare opportunities
in the context of climate change.

HeCo is possible thanks to the leadership of the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development and the National Parks Authority, in partnership with WWF, WCS, Patrimonio Natural, CI, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. It also receives support from donors and cooperators like UE-FAO, KFW, GEF-BM Corazón de la Amazonía, and the Andes Amazon Fund, among others.


©  Giovanny Pulido

Ensuring the permanence of protected areas forms part of WWF’s DNA. That is why this year we celebrate the launch of the Heritage Colombia Program (HeCo). In October, taking a great step forward in the conservation of the country’s natural heritage, the government corroborated its commitment to the strategy that will enable the implementation of the country’s new policy for protected areas, which we have supported since its early beginnings.

Heritage Colombia seeks to safekeep the benefits that protected areas generate for our survival and to strengthen territorial governance. The program’s main objective is the long-term financing of 20 million hectares of protected areas and conservation landscapes, increasing the coverage, effective management, and governance of Colombia’s National System of Protected Areas (SINAP) and other conservation strategies. The program also seeks to promote sustainable landscapes as spaces for inclusion and peace building that can generate welfare opportunities
in the context of climate change.

HeCo is possible thanks to the leadership of the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development and the National Parks Authority, in partnership with WWF, WCS, Patrimonio Natural, CI, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. It also receives support from donors and cooperators like UE-FAO, KFW, GEF-BM Corazón de la Amazonía, and the Andes Amazon Fund, among others.

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INFRASTRUCTURE

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We supported the creation and launch of the Green Road Infrastructure Guidelines



The construction of new roads in strategic regions like the Amazon requires planning criteria and alternatives to mitigate or compensate the negative impacts of infrastructure development. That is why this year we supported the creation and launch of the Green Road Infrastructure Guidelines (LIVV, for its acronym in Spanish)
, a document that includes a series of environmental, social, and engineering criteria to guide the development of roads that protect forests and their biodiversity, especially in areas of high environmental sensitivity like the Amazon region.



This guide results from the joint work carried out by the Ministry of Transportation, the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, and the Foundation for Conservation and Sustainable Development (FCDS).

Since their publication, the guidelines have been disseminated in several spaces within the political-financial sector, which has led to their inclusion in multiple instruments that are currently used to prepare public bids for road construction, including the National Infrastructure Agency’s (ANI) technical appendices on project viability, the National Council for Economic and Social Policy’s CONPES 4021 and 4010 documents for deforestation control and the Roads Program for legality and reactivation, and the guidelines used by the National Roads Institute (INVIAS) to design and plan future road
projects in different regions of the country. The LIVV guide was also presented at the United Nation’s 2021 Climate Change Conference (COP26), where the government underscored its commitment with sustainable road development in the country.

The guidelines’ first pilot is currently being developed along the San José- Retorno Road, in the department of Guaviare, with support from the Moore Foundation and FCDS’s technical leadership. The pilot makes a great contribution to the conservation of the region, since Guaviare is the third most deforested department in the country, according to the most recent report published by the Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology, and Environmental Studies (IDEAM). The pilot is currently in its final stage, and those in charge are already planning strategies to effectively manage the potential impacts on forests, fauna, and local communities identified in the environmental and social analyses.



The construction of new roads in strategic regions like the Amazon requires planning criteria and alternatives to mitigate or compensate the negative impacts of infrastructure development. That is why this year we supported the creation and launch of the Green Road Infrastructure Guidelines (LIVV, for its acronym in Spanish)
, a document that includes a series of environmental, social, and engineering criteria to guide the development of roads that protect forests and their biodiversity, especially in areas of high environmental sensitivity like the Amazon region.



This guide results from the joint work carried out by the Ministry of Transportation, the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, and the Foundation for Conservation and Sustainable Development (FCDS).

Since their publication, the guidelines have been disseminated in several spaces within the political-financial sector, which has led to their inclusion in multiple instruments that are currently used to prepare public bids for road construction, including the National Infrastructure Agency’s (ANI) technical appendices on project viability, the National Council for Economic and Social Policy’s CONPES 4021 and 4010 documents for deforestation control and the Roads Program for legality and reactivation, and the guidelines used by the National Roads Institute (INVIAS) to design and plan future road
projects in different regions of the country. The LIVV guide was also presented at the United Nation’s 2021 Climate Change Conference (COP26), where the government underscored its commitment with sustainable road development in the country.

The guidelines’ first pilot is currently being developed along the San José- Retorno Road, in the department of Guaviare, with support from the Moore Foundation and FCDS’s technical leadership. The pilot makes a great contribution to the conservation of the region, since Guaviare is the third most deforested department in the country, according to the most recent report published by the Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology, and Environmental Studies (IDEAM). The pilot is currently in its final stage, and those in charge are already planning strategies to effectively manage the potential impacts on forests, fauna, and local communities identified in the environmental and social analyses.

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CLIMATE CHANGE

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Colombia made a commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 51% by 2030 as part of its Nationally Determined Contribution


© Ministerio de ambiente y desarrollo sostenible.

In late 2020, Colombia made a commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 51% by 2030 as part of its Nationally Determined Contribution
(NDC). Every country that forms part of the Paris Agreement establishes an NDC that consolidates its targets, actions, and measures taken to mitigate the causes of climate change and adapt to its effects.

Last year we supported the process to update Colombia’s NDC through the formulation and implementation of its participation and communications strategy. During the first months of this year, as a continuation of this process, we worked with the Ministry of Environment—and received support from the World Bank and the United Nations Environmental Program’s NDC Action Initiative—carrying out several workshops to present the NDC’s Implementation Plan to experts in the field, NGOs, private enterprises, financial institutions, and regional climate change authorities.

We also designed the strategy that the Ministry of Environment will follow to communicate the NDC’s implementation—a product aimed at involving more key stakeholders in this process throughout the coming decade.

This year we also participated in an analysis of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) of 15 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to encourage the improvement of the action plans that each signatory of the Paris Agreement will follow to contribute to the fight against climate change. Additionally, in coordination with WWF International, we supported a technical report about the importance of including nature- based solutions in Latin America’s climate agenda.

Simultaneously, and as part of our work within the international climate agenda, we participated in the COP26 conference, held in Glasgow, UK. At the conference, we coordinated WWF’s work in Latin America, working with the region’s offices and the climate and energy division to strengthen advocacy processes. Our work at the summit, which is described in greater detail on our website, was founded on dialogues among the region’s countries, a document with WWF’s expectations, and a series of communications actions.

At the summit, we positioned our work in Colombia in key topics like nature-based solutions, which we carry out with support from the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development as part of the Heritage Colombia program. We also promoted our work in the Amazon in the framework of economic recovery processes and our work with the Green Road Infrastructure Guidelines (LIVV) developed jointly with the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development and the Ministry of Transportation.

Another process from this year worth highlighting is the United for the Planet Alliance. After declaring a state of climate emergency in 2020, the department of Antioquia has taken several actions to face the crisis. One of the actions was the establishment of this alliance to promote joint work in favor of sustainability between the private and public sectors, academic institutions, and the community.

Until now, United for the Planet has planted 5,888,900 trees in different municipalities of Antioquia, established environmental education processes in several territories, advanced the recovery of 3,684 hectares of degraded areas, and developed payment for environmental services programs in the department’s different subregions.


 


© Ministerio de ambiente y desarrollo sostenible.

In late 2020, Colombia made a commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 51% by 2030 as part of its Nationally Determined Contribution
(NDC). Every country that forms part of the Paris Agreement establishes an NDC that consolidates its targets, actions, and measures taken to mitigate the causes of climate change and adapt to its effects.

Last year we supported the process to update Colombia’s NDC through the formulation and implementation of its participation and communications strategy. During the first months of this year, as a continuation of this process, we worked with the Ministry of Environment—and received support from the World Bank and the United Nations Environmental Program’s NDC Action Initiative—carrying out several workshops to present the NDC’s Implementation Plan to experts in the field, NGOs, private enterprises, financial institutions, and regional climate change authorities.

We also designed the strategy that the Ministry of Environment will follow to communicate the NDC’s implementation—a product aimed at involving more key stakeholders in this process throughout the coming decade.

This year we also participated in an analysis of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) of 15 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to encourage the improvement of the action plans that each signatory of the Paris Agreement will follow to contribute to the fight against climate change. Additionally, in coordination with WWF International, we supported a technical report about the importance of including nature- based solutions in Latin America’s climate agenda.

Simultaneously, and as part of our work within the international climate agenda, we participated in the COP26 conference, held in Glasgow, UK. At the conference, we coordinated WWF’s work in Latin America, working with the region’s offices and the climate and energy division to strengthen advocacy processes. Our work at the summit, which is described in greater detail on our website, was founded on dialogues among the region’s countries, a document with WWF’s expectations, and a series of communications actions.

At the summit, we positioned our work in Colombia in key topics like nature-based solutions, which we carry out with support from the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development as part of the Heritage Colombia program. We also promoted our work in the Amazon in the framework of economic recovery processes and our work with the Green Road Infrastructure Guidelines (LIVV) developed jointly with the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development and the Ministry of Transportation.

Another process from this year worth highlighting is the United for the Planet Alliance. After declaring a state of climate emergency in 2020, the department of Antioquia has taken several actions to face the crisis. One of the actions was the establishment of this alliance to promote joint work in favor of sustainability between the private and public sectors, academic institutions, and the community.

Until now, United for the Planet has planted 5,888,900 trees in different municipalities of Antioquia, established environmental education processes in several territories, advanced the recovery of 3,684 hectares of degraded areas, and developed payment for environmental services programs in the department’s different subregions.


 

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CAPACITY BUILDING

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We support indigenous communities so that they continue to be the owners and protectors of their territories such as the Amazon


Supporting indigenous communities so they continue being the owners and protectors of their territories is a fundamental part of WWF’s work in regions like the Amazon. For this reason, in August we began the third cohort of the Indigenous Territorial Governance Training Program (PFGTI, for its acronym in Spanish), a course taught since 2017 to strengthen the capacities of indigenous peoples from Putumayo and improve their territorial governance, which is currently being affected by the expansion of the agricultural frontier and illegal mining, among other phenomena.

This third edition was developed jointly with the Putumayo Indigenous Zonal Organization (OZIP), the National Organization of Indigenous Peoples from the Colombian Amazon (OPIAC), and the Putumayo Institute of Technology (ITP), with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in the framework of the project Indigenous Amazon: Rights and Resources.

The third cohort has 34 students—young people, women, and wise elders (sabedores)—from eight indigenous communities from the department. With support from the PFGTI team, students from previous cohorts work on conservation initiatives to implement their ancestral wisdom and the knowledge acquired in the course to benefit their territories.

This year we also began supporting different indigenous startups in the Amazon, from community tourism and handicrafts to food production and cosmetics. The projects have become the new trend for green businesses in the region, and different indigenous groups see them as a way to improve their living conditions and strengthen their culture, while using the natural resources that surround them in a sustainable way.

Six startups from Putumayo have received training on business and administrative topics with financial support from USAID’s project Indigenous Amazon: Rights and Resources. This work is further supported by several initiatives that seek to halt deforestation and environmental degradation in the department.


Supporting indigenous communities so they continue being the owners and protectors of their territories is a fundamental part of WWF’s work in regions like the Amazon. For this reason, in August we began the third cohort of the Indigenous Territorial Governance Training Program (PFGTI, for its acronym in Spanish), a course taught since 2017 to strengthen the capacities of indigenous peoples from Putumayo and improve their territorial governance, which is currently being affected by the expansion of the agricultural frontier and illegal mining, among other phenomena.

This third edition was developed jointly with the Putumayo Indigenous Zonal Organization (OZIP), the National Organization of Indigenous Peoples from the Colombian Amazon (OPIAC), and the Putumayo Institute of Technology (ITP), with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in the framework of the project Indigenous Amazon: Rights and Resources.

The third cohort has 34 students—young people, women, and wise elders (sabedores)—from eight indigenous communities from the department. With support from the PFGTI team, students from previous cohorts work on conservation initiatives to implement their ancestral wisdom and the knowledge acquired in the course to benefit their territories.

This year we also began supporting different indigenous startups in the Amazon, from community tourism and handicrafts to food production and cosmetics. The projects have become the new trend for green businesses in the region, and different indigenous groups see them as a way to improve their living conditions and strengthen their culture, while using the natural resources that surround them in a sustainable way.

Six startups from Putumayo have received training on business and administrative topics with financial support from USAID’s project Indigenous Amazon: Rights and Resources. This work is further supported by several initiatives that seek to halt deforestation and environmental degradation in the department.

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INCLUSIVE CONSERVATION

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We had the opportunity to continue working for the conservation and governance of nature together with peasant communities in the Colombian Amazon


© Joaquín Castro/ WWF Colombia


This year we had the opportunity to continue working for conservation and nature governance with campesino communities from the Colombian Amazon. We reached conservation agreements and supported different research efforts in these territories.

In April, with the National Parks Authority, we supported the Picachos expedition, a journey in which an expeditionary group of 23 members carried out a biologic characterization of El Salto del Venado and Coreguaje, two sites within the Cordillera de los Picachos National Park, a protected area that was out of bounds for science during the most intense decades of the armed conflict. The research team included inhabitants of the El Pato-Balsillas Campesino Reserve Zone, members of La Palmita Foundation, former guerilla fighters, park rangers, and members of WWF Colombia.

In Guaviare, another region with one of the highest deforestation rates in the country, seven groups of environmental explorers worked throughout the year with our support to avoid deforestation and fires and to obtain more tools for decision-making in their territory, which is located within the buffer zone of Chiribiquete National Park. The groups also participated in capacity building processes to strengthen local monitoring.

It was a year to continue strengthening the effective management of protected areas from an inclusive conservation approach, alongside communities and Colombia’s National Parks Authority. The Protected Areas and Peace Project—financed by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety—seeks to improve the management and territorial governance of six protected areas and contribute to peace building. As part of this process, families that live in areas neighboring PNN Picachos and PNN Macarena have signed conservation agreements that also help improve the livelihoods of communities through productive alternatives.


© Joaquín Castro/ WWF Colombia


This year we had the opportunity to continue working for conservation and nature governance with campesino communities from the Colombian Amazon. We reached conservation agreements and supported different research efforts in these territories.

In April, with the National Parks Authority, we supported the Picachos expedition, a journey in which an expeditionary group of 23 members carried out a biologic characterization of El Salto del Venado and Coreguaje, two sites within the Cordillera de los Picachos National Park, a protected area that was out of bounds for science during the most intense decades of the armed conflict. The research team included inhabitants of the El Pato-Balsillas Campesino Reserve Zone, members of La Palmita Foundation, former guerilla fighters, park rangers, and members of WWF Colombia.

In Guaviare, another region with one of the highest deforestation rates in the country, seven groups of environmental explorers worked throughout the year with our support to avoid deforestation and fires and to obtain more tools for decision-making in their territory, which is located within the buffer zone of Chiribiquete National Park. The groups also participated in capacity building processes to strengthen local monitoring.

It was a year to continue strengthening the effective management of protected areas from an inclusive conservation approach, alongside communities and Colombia’s National Parks Authority. The Protected Areas and Peace Project—financed by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety—seeks to improve the management and territorial governance of six protected areas and contribute to peace building. As part of this process, families that live in areas neighboring PNN Picachos and PNN Macarena have signed conservation agreements that also help improve the livelihoods of communities through productive alternatives.

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FOOD

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We invested effort into one of our priorities: ensuring that key stakeholders in the country develop a more conscious and responsible relationship with food.




The way in which we produce and consume food is one of the main causes of biodiversity loss in the planet. We will therefore be unable to make substantial progress in nature conservation without a comprehensive transformation of our food systems. This year we invested effort into one of our priorities: ensuring that key stakeholders in the country develop a more conscious and responsible relationship with food.

Luis Ángel, Hotel Hab’s chef, is one of these stakeholders. He prepares delicious vegetarian dishes with organic fruits and vegetables grown less than two hours away from Bogota. The same vehicle that brings the produce every week takes the restaurant’s organic waste to a place where it is later composted. These actions are part of what “sustainable gastronomy” means, a concept that seeks to position Colombia as a responsible tourist destination.

Now there is a way to turn this concept into a broader reality. We created the first online course that tells hotels or restaurants what concrete actions they can take to reduce the impact that their businesses have on the planet. With cases like Luis’s, those who take the course may be inspired to change. This is not something that only chefs or hotel chain managers should do. Avoiding waste generation, reducing the use of plastic, and following a local and varied diet are actions that anyone can carry out at home.

But are we willing to do so? Do we really understand the environmental cost of food production? With these questions in mind, we carried out an investigation in eight cities in the country, and our findings are essential to galvanize change. By comparing participants’ answers to an online survey and at-home observations and interviews following an ethnographic approach, we identified two key contradictions.

The first contradiction is that people believe that they do not waste food even if they do. They only perceive their leftovers as waste and do not consider food that goes bad in the fridge or pantry to be a serious problem. The second contradiction is a common belief that food, which comes from a natural source, cannot have negative impacts on nature. Therefore, the average consumer does not worry about food production methods or the distance that separates the food on their plate with its origin.

Considering that the way in which we currently feed ourselves is nature’s greatest threat, the course and investigation stand out as key initiatives to begin transforming food systems.




The way in which we produce and consume food is one of the main causes of biodiversity loss in the planet. We will therefore be unable to make substantial progress in nature conservation without a comprehensive transformation of our food systems. This year we invested effort into one of our priorities: ensuring that key stakeholders in the country develop a more conscious and responsible relationship with food.

Luis Ángel, Hotel Hab’s chef, is one of these stakeholders. He prepares delicious vegetarian dishes with organic fruits and vegetables grown less than two hours away from Bogota. The same vehicle that brings the produce every week takes the restaurant’s organic waste to a place where it is later composted. These actions are part of what “sustainable gastronomy” means, a concept that seeks to position Colombia as a responsible tourist destination.

Now there is a way to turn this concept into a broader reality. We created the first online course that tells hotels or restaurants what concrete actions they can take to reduce the impact that their businesses have on the planet. With cases like Luis’s, those who take the course may be inspired to change. This is not something that only chefs or hotel chain managers should do. Avoiding waste generation, reducing the use of plastic, and following a local and varied diet are actions that anyone can carry out at home.

But are we willing to do so? Do we really understand the environmental cost of food production? With these questions in mind, we carried out an investigation in eight cities in the country, and our findings are essential to galvanize change. By comparing participants’ answers to an online survey and at-home observations and interviews following an ethnographic approach, we identified two key contradictions.

The first contradiction is that people believe that they do not waste food even if they do. They only perceive their leftovers as waste and do not consider food that goes bad in the fridge or pantry to be a serious problem. The second contradiction is a common belief that food, which comes from a natural source, cannot have negative impacts on nature. Therefore, the average consumer does not worry about food production methods or the distance that separates the food on their plate with its origin.

Considering that the way in which we currently feed ourselves is nature’s greatest threat, the course and investigation stand out as key initiatives to begin transforming food systems.

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CITIZEN MOVEMENTS

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Thousands of Colombians understood the importance of the Escazu Agreement

This year, Colombia stood out once again as the country with the greatest number of assassinations targeting environmental defenders: yet another sign of the urgent need to ratify the Escazu Agreement in the country. Since the beginning of the year, jointly with the Partnership for the Escazu Agreement, we doubled our efforts to publicize the importance of this agreement, calling on the Congress of Colombia to readily approve it.

Distinguished artists and opinion leaders joined the call and helped us spread the message among different audiences. Escazu went from being a conversation among few to occupying an important place in the public agenda and appearing in most media outlets throughout most of the year. Though we are still waiting for the agreement’s ratification, this year thousands of Colombians understood the importance of the Escazu Agreement, and they demonstrated their recognition and support for the people who risk their lives every day to protect nature. This is, without doubt, a valuable step forward in the country’s path toward greater environmental justice!



Creating spaces for young people was also one of our bets this year. With over 13,000 participants in 2021, Generation 10 has become an important dialogue platform for young Latin Americans in 43 countries. This year we had the opportunity to highlight the stories and achievements of several Colombian representatives in the digital Bibo fascicles published by El Espectador.

Camilo Molina, with his plastic-free beauty products for men, or Orasi Montenegro, with her brooms made of recycled PET bottles, showed readers how environmental challenges can also become opportunities. The fascicles have become tools and a source of knowledge for young people who want to become environmental leaders.

The first in-person summit of this network, which began virtually in 2020, was carried out in Santa Marta. Young people from the city met with their counterparts from rural areas of the Frío and Sevilla river basins, where WWF has supported their conservation initiatives for several years.

This year, Colombia stood out once again as the country with the greatest number of assassinations targeting environmental defenders: yet another sign of the urgent need to ratify the Escazu Agreement in the country. Since the beginning of the year, jointly with the Partnership for the Escazu Agreement, we doubled our efforts to publicize the importance of this agreement, calling on the Congress of Colombia to readily approve it.

Distinguished artists and opinion leaders joined the call and helped us spread the message among different audiences. Escazu went from being a conversation among few to occupying an important place in the public agenda and appearing in most media outlets throughout most of the year. Though we are still waiting for the agreement’s ratification, this year thousands of Colombians understood the importance of the Escazu Agreement, and they demonstrated their recognition and support for the people who risk their lives every day to protect nature. This is, without doubt, a valuable step forward in the country’s path toward greater environmental justice!



Creating spaces for young people was also one of our bets this year. With over 13,000 participants in 2021, Generation 10 has become an important dialogue platform for young Latin Americans in 43 countries. This year we had the opportunity to highlight the stories and achievements of several Colombian representatives in the digital Bibo fascicles published by El Espectador.

Camilo Molina, with his plastic-free beauty products for men, or Orasi Montenegro, with her brooms made of recycled PET bottles, showed readers how environmental challenges can also become opportunities. The fascicles have become tools and a source of knowledge for young people who want to become environmental leaders.

The first in-person summit of this network, which began virtually in 2020, was carried out in Santa Marta. Young people from the city met with their counterparts from rural areas of the Frío and Sevilla river basins, where WWF has supported their conservation initiatives for several years.

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OCEANS

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We generated spaces to recognize the importance of these areas and to promote conservation measures



Marine areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ)—commonly known as the high seas—are essential for the conservation of oceans and the sustainable use of marine biodiversity. In 2021, as part of the STRONG High Seas project for oceanic governance, we generated spaces to recognize the importance of these areas and to promote conservation measures with different stakeholders, including government entities from member countries of the Permanent Commission for the South Pacific (CPPS).

We also supported the publication of Resolution 2587, which adopts the bycatch management plan in Colombia. This resolution was one of the results of the REBYC II LAC project that we carried out jointly with the National Fishing Authority (AUNAP) and INVEMAR.

And lastly, despite the limitations we continue to face because of the pandemic, we were able to build on the “Ghost Nets” initiative to consolidate a pilot project in the Port of Buenaventura that produced key information to keep certain types of fishing gear from becoming marine waste. Ghost nets include any kind of abandoned, lost, or discarded fishing gear or equipment. They are the most lethal form of marine plastic because they capture wildlife indiscriminately, tangling marine mammals, birds, turtles, and sharks.



Marine areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ)—commonly known as the high seas—are essential for the conservation of oceans and the sustainable use of marine biodiversity. In 2021, as part of the STRONG High Seas project for oceanic governance, we generated spaces to recognize the importance of these areas and to promote conservation measures with different stakeholders, including government entities from member countries of the Permanent Commission for the South Pacific (CPPS).

We also supported the publication of Resolution 2587, which adopts the bycatch management plan in Colombia. This resolution was one of the results of the REBYC II LAC project that we carried out jointly with the National Fishing Authority (AUNAP) and INVEMAR.

And lastly, despite the limitations we continue to face because of the pandemic, we were able to build on the “Ghost Nets” initiative to consolidate a pilot project in the Port of Buenaventura that produced key information to keep certain types of fishing gear from becoming marine waste. Ghost nets include any kind of abandoned, lost, or discarded fishing gear or equipment. They are the most lethal form of marine plastic because they capture wildlife indiscriminately, tangling marine mammals, birds, turtles, and sharks.

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FUNDRAISING

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In 2021, more than 500 people symbolically adopted the jaguar, Andean bear, river dolphin, marine turtle, and African elephant, thus committing to the conservation of their species and the habitat where it lives.



In late 2020, we launched the species adoption program to motivate people to support WWF Colombia’s conservation projects and help the organization conserve the habitats of our supporters’ favorite species.

In 2021, more than 500 people symbolically adopted the jaguar, Andean bear, river dolphin, marine turtle, and African elephant, thus committing to the conservation of their species and the habitat where it lives. Colombians have found a new way to celebrate special dates by gifting or making donations on behalf of their dear ones, demonstrating that good deeds are and will always be a great gift.

Thanks to this program, which we launched primarily through our digital channels, we have been able to reach thousands of people with information about these magical species, hoping to make them fall in love and learn about how important it is to conserve them.
With this program, we want to emphasize the importance and role that each of these species plays in its habitat and in our daily lives. We invite you to become part of the Panda Community and to adopt a species at donacion.wwf.org.co/adopta



In late 2020, we launched the species adoption program to motivate people to support WWF Colombia’s conservation projects and help the organization conserve the habitats of our supporters’ favorite species.

In 2021, more than 500 people symbolically adopted the jaguar, Andean bear, river dolphin, marine turtle, and African elephant, thus committing to the conservation of their species and the habitat where it lives. Colombians have found a new way to celebrate special dates by gifting or making donations on behalf of their dear ones, demonstrating that good deeds are and will always be a great gift.

Thanks to this program, which we launched primarily through our digital channels, we have been able to reach thousands of people with information about these magical species, hoping to make them fall in love and learn about how important it is to conserve them.
With this program, we want to emphasize the importance and role that each of these species plays in its habitat and in our daily lives. We invite you to become part of the Panda Community and to adopt a species at donacion.wwf.org.co/adopta

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WWF logo

Special Mentions of 2021

REACHING A DEAL FOR NATURE AND PEOPLE


When entering a new decade, we must make sure that it is a “decade of action” to achieve a nature positive future that is carbon neutral, equitable, and inclusive. Environmental organizations expected 2020 to be the “super year” in which international spaces and negotiations would yield key decisions to face these crises. However, because of the pandemic, these events were postponed and carried out in 2021.

This year we attended high-level events like the United Nations General Assembly, the Biodiversity Pre-COP, and the opening of the United Nations CBD’s COP15. At these summits, global leaders made important announcements to revert the loss of nature and fight climate change throughout the decade. This year, we strengthen the Leaders Pledge for Nature, an initiative through which 93 countries make progress on 10 actions to revert biodiversity loss, tackle climate change, and guarantee a green, just, and resilient economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. We also worked with other offices in the region to support the participation of regional leaders in the event The Dasgupta Review: Transforming the Global Economy for a Nature Positive Future. The President of Colombia, Iván Duque Márquez (in a pre-recorded video), and the Minister of Environment of Costa Rica, Andrea Mesa, participated in this event—co-organized by WWF, Capitals Coalition, and Business for Nature—to share their perspectives about current initiatives and commitments to drive long-term economic change.

In the framework of the biodiversity agenda, WWF and other civil society organizations participated and led a coalition that seeks to generate inputs for negotiations concerning the Global Biodiversity Framework. Jointly with the coalition, WWF Colombia organized a forum with the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development to position the joint development—among civil society organizations, NGOs, and national authorities—of Colombia’s target for the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework negotiation.

Recognition of Corporate Allies, Partners, and Donors

WWF Colombia is convinced about the value of joint work with the private sector to reduce the pressure exerted on the country’s ecosystems. Its contribution is key to promote conservation and reduce environmental impacts, by taking actions that enable sustainability in the long term and contribute to sustainable development for territories and their communities.

That is why, throughout 2021, several companies joined our program Together Possible, which aims to foster an environmental culture and more sustainable consumption habits. Around 6,000 program collaborators participated in this training process.

To contribute to protected areas’ ecologic and productive restoration processes, we worked with private partners like Grupo Nutresa and Grupo Exito, among others, to structure and implement processes for good business practices in the food sector that could help reduce the impact that businesses have on strategic ecosystems.

Through more than 15 agreements on cause-related marketing and campaigns with brands and companies aligned with our values, including Colombates, Fokus Green, Maruica, and Worldtech, we promoted more responsible forms of consumption and contributed to conservation in the country.

And as part of our work with Procolombia, Fontur, Airbnb, and Awake, among others, we participated in two pilots in Colombia related to the sustainable nature tourism strategy that WWF has been developing in the country to strengthen the governance of productive projects, make them more visible, and build capacities. These pilots have been developed in Estrella Fluvial Inírida, Guainía, and the Pacific region.

Recognition as an Open Arms Organization

In July, alongside 24 other organizations, we were recognized as an Open Arms Company for our efforts to hire Colombian and Venezuelan workers who have returned to the country. This recognition is awarded by the Ministry of Labor, the IOM, USAID, and Aleida Sánchez’s Creative Workshop. We will continue to move forward with open arms!

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