Big Wins 2019: Sustainable Development Alternatives | WWF

Big Wins 2019: Sustainable Development Alternatives

Posted on
23 diciembre 2019
We firmly believe that the long term and effective conservation of our natural wealth depends on the wellbeing of local communities and their access to development alternatives. This year, among other related initiatives, alongside the Foundation for Conservation and Sustainable Development (FCDS) we worked on setting guidelines for building a green road infrastructure in the Amazon and strengthening biodiversity business initiatives in landscapes affected by mining in Chocó.

Building road infrastructure without planning, analyzing or managing environmental impacts is one of the main driving forces behind deforestation in regions such as the Amazon. Regrettably, in Colombia the process of building new roads makes a poor use of impact management and mitigation approaches.  This is happening independently of the dramatic upsurge of illegal road constructions that has taken place after the Peace Agreement came into effect. With the purpose of contributing to overcome this challenge in 2019, working in tandem with the Foundation for Conservation and Sustainable Development (FCDS) and with the help of the Moore Foundation we wrote a green Amazon road infrastructure proposal.
These guidelines, which were created in collaboration with the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development, the Ministry of Transportation and FCDS will help improve road infrastructure planning. They push for the adoption of environmental parameters and the inclusion of  affected communities in decision making during early planning stages. Our goal is to diminish environmental impacts and stop road infrastructure-associated deforestation.
In Chocó we also got great end of the year news! The GEF Project, Biodiversity Conservation in Landscapes Impacted by Mining in the Chocó Region, implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and executed by WWF, developed a Biodiversity Business Initiative to promote alternatives to illegal mining.  As a result, we supported or helped to consolidate fifteen start-ups focused on sustainable use of biodiversity such as ecotourism, sustainable agriculture, and non-timber forest products such as the use of native plants and fruits in the production of cosmetics.  Products from 13 of the 15 initiatives were reaching markets by the end of 2019 with very positive economic results.  The operating income increased by 3.6 million pesos (about 1.14 million USD), representing 191% growth and creation of 82 jobs.  This is a positive outcome demonstrating the potential of forest based economies as an alternative to illegal mining.