The Andean forest ecosystems of South America cover a little over 30 million hectares still in their natural condition. Some 69 million men and women settled in constantly-expanding cities and towns live around them, using and enjoying their ecosystem services.
The countries of the Andean region have been taking important steps to position the relevance of Andean forests in public policies to combat climate change, since these ecosystems play a strategic role in biodiversity conservation, including water regulation and conservation, besides carbon capture.
In February, the team of specialists of the Andean Forest Programme (AFP) started the activities of the second phase, to build on the achievements of the first phase and put more focus on policy advocacy in the region and at global level. The team implemented a series of activities in Bogota and Medellin and later in Quito. The advocacy reaffirmed the bonds of collaboration and participation with the partners. The agreements, actions and commitments are described below:
1) E International event: Private investment opportunities for restoring degraded lands for the agricultural sector, using a landscape approach
The meeting was held on March 3 and 4 in Bogota. Its aim was to identify financing opportunities through impact investments in restoration, and to share experiences from Colombia and Latin America.
The event was organized by the 20×20 Initiative and the National Advisory Board on Restoration, with support from WRI, IICA, 3rdPlanet, BMU Germany and the Norwegian Ministry of Environment.
The Andean Forests Programme arranged for two people to attend, one specialist from the Peruvian Ministry of the Environment’s Climate Change and Desertification Department, SERFOR Peru’s Director of Sustainable Management of Forest and Wildlife Heritage, and the Assistant Secretary of Governance of the Vice President’s Office of Ecuador. They took part in the discussions about the impact of a landscape approach on land restoration (taking Colombia as an example).
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WRI, HELVETAS Peru and CONDESAN, the technical partners of the 20×20 Initiative, have pledged their full support for the agreements.
2) International Environment Fair:
The event will be organized 3-6 June, with one day dedicated to the International Day for Biological Diversity. Over 30 regional autonomous and sustainable development corporations are expected to attend and socialize experiences, liaise over activities and establish cooperation agreements to show tangible results in Peru’s management of its forests, and especially of its Andean forests.
The Andean Forests Programme has been arranging for people with forest and ecological restoration experience from Ecuador, Peru and Colombia to be at the fair, together with representatives of the government forest sector.
3) National Restoration Committee in Ecuador:
The programme is helping to set up a round table to support forest conservation and restoration projects in course.
The Office of the Vice President of the Republic of Ecuador is promoting this forum for inter-agency dialogue, together with government agencies, private stakeholders, academia and civil society.
The Andean Forest Programme is contributing with lessons learned from its activities in knowledge management, implementation and validation of sustainable land management practices, and strengthening governance systems at different scales in Ecuador.
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4) Joint Declaration of Interest: “Pact for Andean Forests”:
The programme and the Andean Mountain Initiative are coordinating with the Andean countries to sign a Joint Declaration of Interest for the protection, conservation and restoration of mountain forests in Ecuador, Colombia, Peru and Chile. These countries have already confirmed and ratified their interest in signing this important agreement.
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5) Agreements with the Technical Committee of the Antioquia Forest Observatory:
The committee provided the opportunity for presenting the transition phase activities, including completing the Phase I minutes, starting to plan Phase II with: i) the Forests and Climate Change Forum for candidates standing for the position of mayor, governor, municipal councillor or on the department assembly and; ii) the agreement signed between Corantioquia and the botanical garden, the contract between AMVA and Masbosques and the commitment of the AFP members in Antioquia.
The committee also succeeded in fostering greater interest between the Colombian Ministry of the Environment and the Alexander Von Humboldt Institute in working together on the Sustainable Colombia Project, strengthening the process at the global level in the National Development Plan, discussing a monitoring strategy necessary for mountain forests in Parque los Nevados, Tota and Puracé, and participating in the Restoration Congress in June, to be held in Santa Marta.
Antioquia Forest Observatory (O.B.A) This grew out of the Andean Forest Programme, which is part of SDC’s global climate change programme, facilitated by the consortium Helvetas Peru (Condesan), and implemented in Antioquia thanks to the Pact for the Forests and an inter-institutional agreement between the Medellin botanical garden, the Masbosques Corporation, state-run companies in Medellin, the Metropolitan Area of the Aburrá valley and CORANTIOQUÍA.
6) Consolidation of the integrated monitoring strategy for high Andean ecosystems in Colombia
The AFP is working with the Alexander von Humboldt Biological Resources Research Institute and the Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies (IDEAM) to design a monitoring strategy that integrates eco-systemic and socio-economic dimensions, to reflect the conservation status of Andean paramos and forests. The design stage of the scientific and methodological bases of the proposal has been completed. The organizations are currently defining the best strategy to implement and validate the integrated monitoring scheme, in compliance with the regulations of the Colombian Paramo Law.
Bosques Andinos. This programme is implemented in the countries that form part of the Andean mountain range arc, and is part of the Global Programme on Climate Change and Environment of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). It is facilitated by the consortium HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation (Condesan).