Colombia Heritage: the country´s big bet for a new deal in favour of the wellbeing of nature and people | WWF

Colombia Heritage: the country´s big bet for a new deal in favour of the wellbeing of nature and people

Posted on
23 noviembre 2018
  •  The Conference of the Parties (COP 14), of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), is currently being held in Egypt. The meeting will end 29 November and has the post 2020 objective of increasing national and international efforts to stop and reverse the loss of biodiversity and protect natural ecosystems that support our life on Earth.
  •  The program Colombia Heritage played a leading role in putting forth an efficient, full-fledged strategy to address the country´s commitments in terms of conservation, sustainable development and efforts to combat climate change.
Bogotá, 23 November 2018– Heritage Colombia (HECO) was recognized during the COP 14 as a relevant comprehensive strategy to catalyse fulfilment of national commitments in the framework of international biodiversity agendas–the CBD´s Aichi Targets, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). HECO is trying to mobilize resources and increase the program´s capacity in landscape scenarios in protected areas in Colombia. Its mission is to reinforce the scope for action post 2020.
The year 2020 is key in the international context as governments will have to make vital decisions in the context of climate change, biodiversity and sustainable development. WWF’s invitation is to make this a point of inflexion to radically scale-up the political relevance of nature and demonstrate the willingness of decision makers in the public and private sectors to attain unity under a common agreement in favour of nature and people. Consolidation of the HECO program is no doubt a first step.
HECO is an outcome of the COP 21 on Climate Change conducted in 2015 when a memorandum of understanding was signed, at the national level, by the Colombian Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development (MADS, from its name in Spanish), the National Natural Parks, and the Natural Heritage Fund; and at the international level, by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Conservation International and WWF. The purpose was to establish the Project Finance for Permanence (PFP). HECO was established as a model agreed on by public and private stakeholders to guarantee perpetual financial sustainability for protected area systems.
Promotion of HECO in different international scenarios is key to its consolidation. In accordance, the Colombian Government acknowledged HECO during COP, as a key strategic effort to attain national environmental sustainability as well as to further social and economic dimensions in Agenda 2030 and in the SDGs, and to support implementation of National Development Contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Agreement goals.
HECO was mentioned in three COP events, parallel to official negotiations: at the meeting Engaging Minds, Engaging Hearts, WWF presented its 2018 Living Planet Report, a biannual exercise analysing in detail the status of biodiversity at the global level and emphasizing the need to increase biodiversity protection targets. During the event, Laura Camila Bermúdez, MADS advisor, stated that “the 2018 Living Planet Report presents issues of common concern for Colombia, specifically in the face of the need to increase efforts to attain the Aichi Targets, as well as the adoption of a biodiversity framework post 2020.”
The second event focused on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which recently confirmed an increase of 1°C in global temperatures and cautioned that we only have 10 years to reverse this tendency before reaching the 1.5°C dangerous threshold. Participants in the event stressed the interdependence of efforts to combat climate change and to protect biodiversity, and highlighted HECO as a country flagship program to work successfully in strengthening this relationship.
During the third event, on 22 November, on Germany´s international support for the implementation of the CBD’s strategic plan, HECO was pointed out as a program of great importance for generating a work scheme in which protected area management is closely linked to conservation strategies outside these protected areas, through landscape conservation efforts.
Ximena Barrera, WWF’s Government Relations and International Affairs Director, stated that “HECO is increasingly and internationally acknowledged as an initiative that contributes to biodiversity, climate change and sustainable development goals. This program is evidence of the significance of establishing alliances between government and non-government stakeholders in reaching agreements in favor of nature and people, in line with the Egypt to China Action Agenda recently launched at COP".

What is the Project Finance for Permanence (PFP) of the Heritage Colombia program?
PFP is a financial model agreed on by public and private stakeholders to guarantee perpetual financial sustainability of protected area systems. The model facilitates long-term financial contributions and significant political commitments of all involved under a Unique Agreement that guarantees closing the financial gap for managing protected areas. In the framework of this model, donors mobilize resources required for implementation and governments commit to allocating resources and implementing actions to guarantee perpetual sustainability of the system.

¿What is the Action Agenda from Egypt to China: promoting a new agreement for nature and people?
This agenda seeks to enable a change in the paradigm of the relation between people and nature, by going from an attitude of abuse and negligence to one of respect, appreciation and sustainability. Three objectives have been established to this end:
  •  Increasing public awareness on the urgent need to stop and restore the health of biodiversity.
  •  Inspire and implement solutions based on nature to address global challenges.
  •  Catalyse cooperation initiatives to support global biodiversity targets.