UN, Colombia Assess Post-Conflict Environmental Damage
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
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A team of UN experts has concluded that Colombia has an opportunity to promote sustainable and resilient livelihoods “in which nature provides the foundation for long-lasting peace and prosperity”.

The experts identified significant environmental destruction in the Quito river basin caused by illegal mining and deforestation that occurred during Colombia's conflict over the past 50 years.

The UN Environment Programme will support post-conflict development through technical and strategic means, as well as improving public access to environmental information.

24 March 2017: UN experts conducted a post-conflict, multi-disciplinary assessment of environmental degradation in Colombia, concluding that the country has an opportunity to promote sustainable and resilient livelihoods “in which nature provides the foundation for long-lasting peace and prosperity.”

The experts identified significant environmental destruction in the Quito river basin, including the release of mercury, caused by illegal mining and deforestation by rebel groups that had controlled rural territories for over 50 years. President of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos invited the UN team to identify priority actions to mitigate the risks to health and livelihoods caused by the environmental damage.

For its part, the Government of Colombia has emphasized “strengthening the environmental dividends of peace and fostering green growth as pillars for sustainable development.” Among other steps, the Government has established a Sustainable Colombia Fund to promote sustainable livelihoods and integral rural development.

UN Environment reports that it will support the post-conflict development process through: technical recommendations and training for environmental peacebuilding projects; strategic environmental assessment of key post-conflict interventions; advice on measures to improve social, economic and environmental conditions for the extractive sector and to remediate damage caused by illegal operations; and strengthening of the institutional and technical capacities for the Participatory Territorial Planning and Monitoring, including improving public access to environmental information. [UN Environment Press Release] [UN Press Release]

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