Colombia took a significant step towards environmental conservation with the signing of the Cartagena del Chairá Agreement in Caquetá. Minister of Environment, Susana Muhamad, inked the historic pact alongside the newly elected governor and 15 mayors of the region, during the inauguration of Governor Luis Francisco Ruíz and Mayor Darwin Andrés Flores.
This landmark agreement acknowledges a critical moment to safeguard the country’s forests and address the impacts of biodiversity loss, pollution, and climate change. The commitment involves partnering with the new regional leaders to curtail deforestation and foster harmony with nature. The leaders are committed to using the new Territorial Development as instrumental tools, reaffirming prior agreements with local communities from a year ago.
During the event, the “Conservar Paga” (Conserving Pays) program gained recognition for its potential impact. This initiative, set to launch next year, offers economic incentives to farmers, Black, and Indigenous communities dedicated to jungle protection. The incentive, distributed through payments for environmental services, is set to triple, reaching up to $900,000 and benefiting over 10,000 families nationwide.
Minister Susana Muhamad emphasized the historic nature of the agreement, symbolizing a collective effort to achieve ecological peace, organize territories around water, and collaboratively construct a biodiversity-driven economy. Governor Luis Francisco Ruiz, that recently took office in the GCF Task Force member Caquetá, highlighted the cultural aspect of combating deforestation in their department, emphasizing collaboration with institutions and associations to promote sustainable agriculture and livestock practices in harmony with the environment.
With more than 800 attendees, Minister Muhamad underscored the challenge of dignifying the role of communities in the recovery and preservation of the jungle, emphasizing the recognition of peasants as subjects of rights.
The Cartagena del Chairá Agreement articulates five key points:
- Establishing Colombia and Caquetá as champions of life, recognizing the high biodiversity of the territories and transitioning towards improved environmental and productive practices.
- Acknowledging the coexistence of ethnic and farming communities in Caquetá and ensuring their special protection through social dialogue, recognizing communal organizations, autonomy, and knowledge as crucial for Amazon protection.
- Progressing in territorial planning around water, seeking Total Peace for Caquetá, providing alternatives for land access and use, closing and stabilizing agricultural frontiers, transforming production, and promoting biodiversity-based economies.
- Sustaining deforestation reduction through environmental governance, social agreements, strengthening forest planning and management instruments, conserving strategic ecosystems, and advancing sustainable livestock transformation.
- Fostering the biodiversity economy, strengthening Forest and Biodiversity Development Hubs, restoring Andean-Amazonian connectivity, caring for forests and water sources, connecting ecosystems, diversifying economic resources for rural families, and promoting sustainable Amazonian development for total peace with nature.
Read the Ministry of Environment note on the announcement in this link.