Today in Paris, against the backdrop of the UN Climate Change Conference, the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development, the National Natural Parks of Colombia (PNN), the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Fund for Biodiversity and Protected Areas – Natural Heritage, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Conservation International announced that they will sign a historic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) committed to collaborating with the government of Colombia to achieve sustainable financing and improved management of the country’s National Parks System.
This will happen at an event in Paris organized by the Latin American Network for Technical Cooperation on Protected Areas (REDPARQUES) along with WWF, where Julia Miranda, Director of National Natural Parks of Colombia, will present the REDPARQUES Declaration on protected areas and climate change signed by 18 Latin American countries.
“Protected areas are a powerful tool for climate change adaptation and mitigation, and an extraordinary development opportunity. They capture carbon, regulate climate and protect us from extreme weather events. At the same time, they harbor unique biodiversity which value needs to be visible to the world” said Pablo Vieira, Colombian Vice-Minister of Environment. “Colombia has ambitious targets to increase our protected areas and strengthen the existing ones because they are central to sustainable rural development, biodiversity conservation, climate change action and, therefore, provide the foundations for a long lasting peace”.
Colombia has included in its INDC a specific target to increase 2.5 million hectares of protected areas as a key action for adaptation. Furthermore, at COP21, President Juan Manuel Santos stated in his opening remarks that protecting forests, halting deforestation and increasing the country’s protected areas are a priority for its government. At the climate talks, the Colombian President launched a Sustainable Peace Fund that aims to maximize the environmental, societal, and economic benefits of peace in Colombia. This MoU reiterates the country’s willingness to act in partnership with key stakeholders to protect forests as a strategy to address climate change and consolidate peace.
“In signing this agreement, we celebrate years of collaborative work with governmental agencies, indigenous communities and conservation NGOs in Colombia,” explained Guillermo Castilleja, chief program officer for the Moore Foundation. “Our partners have made remarkable gains in building capacity and obtaining funding sources for the long-term management of Colombia’s protected areas. But we need more. Today, this MoU signifies a joint commitment to leverage the necessary additional resources to establish an effective mechanism that will secure permanent institutional and financial capacity for the National Parks System.”
“When we join forces with others, we can achieve transformational results,” said Carter Roberts, president and CEO of World Wildlife Fund in United States (WWF-US). “This MoU evidences the importance of collaboration in supporting the financial and technical conditions that could ultimately result in the protection of Colombia’s critical ecosystems, which President Santos has said will significantly contribute to meeting Colombia's carbon emissions reductions through reduced deforestation and enhanced carbon sequestration.”
According to Julia Miranda, Director of National Parks of Colombia, “ensuring financial sustainability for the Protected Areas System is a huge opportunity to engage public and private support for the conservation of our national parks and the ecosystem services they provide.”
This MoU will serve as the foundation for fostering cooperation among the signatories, who share an interest and willingness to collaborate in the development and implementation of long-term financial, economic and social efforts to conserve Colombia’s extraordinary biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Specifically, the signatories have expressed their will to:
- Join efforts to create and consolidate 3.5 million hectares of new areas that contribute to biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services.
- Promote the consolidation of the National System of Protected Areas according to the targets set in the System’s Action Plan.
- Develop mechanisms and plan a gradual provision of resources to meet the management needs of protected areas and other conservation strategies that can serve as buffers and provide ecosystem connectivity.
- Strengthen planning and implementation strategies and financial models to develop long-term sustainable financing, taking into account public policies, regional and national conservation initiatives, and territorial management of protected areas.
REDPARQUES is the Latin American Network for Technical Cooperation on National Parks, other Protected Areas, and Wild Flora and Fauna, founded in 1983. It brings together the Directors of Protected Area Systems of 19 countries from Latin America and the Caribbean.
The following countries have now signed the Declaration on Protected Areas and Climate Change: Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, French Guiana (France), Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Panama, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.
About the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation fosters path-breaking scientific discovery, environmental conservation, patient care improvements, and preservation of the special character of the San Francisco Bay Area. Visit www.moore.org or follow @MooreFound.
About the World Wildlife Fund
WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. Visit www.panda.org/news for latest news and media resources.