Colombia’s Amazon Vision Program

Proposals for the Amazon Vision Program

At the 2009 Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Colombia announced an ambitious goal of reaching zero net deforestation in the Colombian Amazon by 2020[1]. To reach this goal, the national government is currently developing a comprehensive program called the “Amazon Vision”.

Colombia is well-positioned to become a leader in addressing the pressing global challenges of climate change, tropical deforestation and food security. Earth Innovation Institute is supporting Colombia’s Amazon Vision program through its leadership of a consortium of agencies focused on research and analysis of potential strategies for increasing stakeholder buy-in for the program.

If successful, the Amazon Vision strategy could reduce globally significant amounts of CO2 released to the atmosphere by 2020. These emissions reductions would be accompanied by substantial co-benefits in the form of improved smallholder farmer livelihoods, better air quality, biodiversity conservation and regulation of water flow in watersheds[2].

However, in order to achieve zero net deforestation in the Amazon region by 2020[3], Colombia must confront a number of critical challenges facing the region, including limited governance capacity exacerbated by decades of armed conflict, an illicit crop industry and populations isolated by inadequate infrastructure.

Cattle ranching is the single most important use of cleared land in the Amazon, with pastures occupying some 70% of deforested land. Transforming this dominant livelihood system to sustainable practices, such as intensive cattle ranching, silvopastoral or agroforestry systems that have the potential to improve livelihoods while reducing the need for cleared land, is one of the most critical challenges for Amazon Vision.

There is also the challenge of fragmentation. Governments, farm sectors, companies and communities have different goals and interests. At one level, the challenge and the opportunity of the Colombian Amazon Vision program is to foster a new “low-emission rural development” model in which governments, private sector, farm sector and communities become aligned and in agreement upon regional milestones for reducing deforestation, increasing production and improving livelihoods. For these shared milestones to be realized, they must be accompanied by incentives that drive changes in land-use systems and improvements in governance capacity, supported by monitoring platforms that track progress towards these milestones.

The governments of the United Kingdom, Norway and Germany seek to support Colombia in achieving its goal of zero net deforestation in the Amazon region by 2020 through targeted interventions and investments. To this end, the UK, through the International

Climate Fund (ICF) selected, through a competitive bid, a consortium comprised of Earth Innovation Institute (lead), Fundación Natura Colombia, WWF Colombia, and Forest Trends to research, design, and analyze potential strategies to increase private sector engagement and sustainable supply chains in the departments of Caquetá and Guaviare. The Government of Norway, through the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), co-financed this analysis through a grant to Earth Innovation Institute. The work focused on three of the key challenges that Colombia faces as it strives to reduce deforestation caused by the agricultural sector: 1) insufficient technical support and financial incentives for producers to convert dominant land uses (extensive cattle ranching) to sustainable production systems, 2) low private sector investment in sustainable production systems due to insufficient competitiveness of products and high investment risk, and 3) insufficient governance and governmental capacity within municipalities and departments to design and implement regional plans to eliminate deforestation.

The Consortium conducted the following analyses to guide the UK’s potential investment in Colombia’s Amazon Vision Program:

• Prioritization of relevant supply chains that could contribute to reducing deforestation and promoting a transition to low-emission rural development

• Analysis of priority supply chains and their potential role in achieving the goal of reducing deforestation in the Amazon

• Analysis of policies related to deforestation, climate change and rural development

• Analysis of existing financial mechanisms and opportunities to reduce deforestation

• Analysis of opportunities for private sector involvement

• Synthesis and Recommendations: International Climate Fund Inputs for a Business Case for DECC investment in the Amazon Vision Program: Production Systems and Private Sector Involvement Component

The draft strategies and recommendations presented are intended to work in concert with the Amazon Vision to provide an integrated suite of policies, initiatives, and incentives targeted at various sectors (producers, governments, and private sector) to transform the region’s economy from its current high-deforestation, high-emission trajectory to one that reduces deforestation while improving livelihoods.

[1] Forest cover was estimated to be 59,924 km² in 2012, 60% of which is found in the departments of the Colombian Amazon (Datos IDEAM, ‘Forest-Non-Forest Map for the Period 2010-12).

[2] Nepstad, D. C. et al. Addressing Agricultural Drivers of Deforestation in Colombia: Increasing Land-Based Production while Reducing Deforestation, Forest Degradation, Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Global Poverty: Report to the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department of Energy Climate Change, Forests and Climate Change Programme. 158 (London, UK, 2013).

[3] Zero net deforestation describes a forest frontier region in which the area of forest that is cleared over a given time period is equal to or less than the area of “new” forest that is regenerating or being anthropogenically restored during that same time period.

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Section 1.   Supply chains that could contribute to reduced deforestation and promote a transition to low-emission rural development (LED-R)

1.1 Prioritization of relevant supply chains that could contribute to reduce deforestation and promote a transition to low-emissions rural development (LED-R)

1.2 Mapping and GAP analysis of priority supply chains according to market requirements and the potential role of these supply chains in achieving the goal of reducing deforestation in the Amazon

1.3 Action plans to support the strengthening of priority sustainable supply chains in Caquetá and Guaviare

Section 2.  Financial mechanisms and opportunities to promote private sectors investment.

2.1 Opportunities to promote agricultural private sector investments and initiatives

2.2 Private sector contribution to sustainable agricultural production and curb deforestation

2.3 Public-private financial mechanisms to support zero-deforestation supply chains in Colombia’s Amazon

Section 3. Policy analysis and recommendations

3.1 Analysis of the political and regulatory framework for sustainable production systems in Caquetá and Guaviare

3.2 Instruments and policy strategies for reducing deforestation in the Colombian Amazon region (English)(Español)

Section 4. Strategies to reduce deforestation

4.1 Tools and strategies to reduce deforestation by promoting the active participation of the private sector (Toolkit)

4.2 Inputs for an International Climate Fund Business-Case for DECC investment in the Amazon Vision Program: Production systems and private sector involvement component