Launching of BanCO2 Metropolitano in Colombia: Large Forests for Large Cities

This initiative is the first scheme of payments for urban environmental services.

 

The environmental compensation program of BanCO2 Metropolitano will begin with 18,000 hectares of mountain forests in the Aburrá Valley in the micro-basins of the La López, Barbosa and El Salado ravines of Girardota. An opportunity to protect the environment and improve the quality of life of all metropolitan inhabitants.

BanCO2 works for the protection of the environment, through economic compensation to participating families, through payment for environmental services. To be part of this initiative, citizens and businesses in Colombia can make a monetary compensation for the ecosystem guardians, who receive what you pay by means of your cell phone in a savings account in the hands of Bancolombia. BanCO2 Metropolitano was launched last December 6 to encourage restoration and conservation actions in strategic ecosystems and areas of regional environmental importance, both urban and rural.

The agreement that gives life to BanCO2 Metropolitano was signed by the Metropolitan Area of the Aburrá Valley with the Masbosques Corporation, Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation – through the Andean Forests Program – and the Joaquín Antonio Uribe Botanical Garden, and its main objective is sustainable management of strategic ecosystems. Also, to assess the role of mountain forests in the Andes in adapting and mitigating climate change.

The ceremony, held in December 2016, was presided over by Eugenio Prieto Soto, Director of the Aburrá Valley Metropolitan Area, and accompanied by Carlos Mario Zuluaga Gómez, directors of Cornare; Corantioquia, Alejandro González Valencia; the mayors of Barbosa, Edison García Restrepo and Girardota, Yan Bladimir Jaramillo; directors of the Corona organization, Bancolombia and Papelsa; and the first peasants of the Valley of Aburrá benefited by the program.

In launching this strategy, Director Eugenio Prieto thanked the directors of Cornare, Corantioquia and CorpoUrabá for joining the enormous commitment to work together to close the gap between urban and rural. “We cannot continue to think about the environment separately in the territory, it has to be systemic,” he explained, referring to BanCO2: “it is not a welfare program, but a payment, a compensation for environmental services, because without rural areas we would not exist”. He added that “BanCO2 is an extraordinary alternative to advance in the metropolitan green belt and that belt, both in the internal and external cord, is the biological and ecological link between these urban and rural areas.”

This scheme that works for the protection of the environment through economic compensation to participating families, begins for the Aburrá Valley in the micro-basins of the La López ravine in Barbosa and El Salado in Girardota, with the selection and prioritization of ecosystems and areas of regional environmental importance (urban and rural) and the actors where these properties are located who will be beneficiaries with the strategy. At the launch event of BanCO2 Metropolitano, four peasant families were compensated each with values ranging from two to ten million pesos per year, according to the number of hectares protected by families.

In this regard, the Director of the Metropolitan Area, Eugenio Prieto explained that “companies provide resources after calculating the carbon footprint they produce, with which we will be able to pay farmers who live in the countryside and who have forests to care for them, so that they are not felled and, in turn, protect water, oxygen and protect wild flora and fauna.”

It should be noted that BanCO2 has been expanding in different areas of Colombia, showing very encouraging results for the different actors involved in the project: it has linked about 20 environmental authorities and benefited more than a thousand peasant families, through which it is possible to carry out actions to protect and restore areas of great environmental importance, both urban and rural.

Likewise, with this process, almost three million tons of CO2 have been offset and 13,000 hectares have been protected to safeguard biodiversity, headwaters, wetlands and many other environmental services that benefit the different communities. By adding public and private intentions, the implementation of BanCO2 Metropolitano of the Valley of Aburrá becomes one of the starting points that will guarantee environmental services for present and future generations.

Background.
In August of this year, the Metropolitan Area of the Aburrá Valley signed an agreement with the MasBosques Corporation and the Andean Forests Program, through the HELVETAS Swiss Inter-cooperation, to implement the BanCO2 strategy that seeks to promote carbon footprint compensation and restoration of landscapes and mountain forests in the Valley of Aburrá.

Andean Forests, an initiative implemented in the countries that are part of the arc of the Andes, is part of the Global Program for Climate Change of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and is facilitated by the Helvetas Swiss Inter-cooperation – Condesan consortium.

Bosques Andinos, an initiative implemente in the countries that form part of the Andean Mountain Range arc, forms part of the Global Program for Climate Change of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and is facilitated by the Helvetas Swiss Inter-cooperation – Condesan consortium.

Source: Andean Forest Web / Metropolitan Area of the Valley of Aburrá Web

 

Relevant links:
Andean Forest, Fact Sheet, Embassy of Switzerland, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC
Web Andean Forests Program
Video Andean Forests Program

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