U. S. and Colombia launch Landscape Conservation Program to Protect Six Natural Parks
October 19, 2009
To protect Colombian diversity and continue with the promise to establish and sustain the protection of marine and terrestrial area systems, on October 20, the Colombian and U. S. governments launched the Landscape Conservation Program at the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Tayrona National Park. Participating in the event were U. S. Ambassador William R. Brownfield, Environment Viceminister Claudia Mora, National Parks Director Julia Miranda and Diego Molano, presidential advisor for Social Action and International Cooperation.
Through its Agency for International Development (USAID), the U. S. Government will allocate $9.5 million to support the implementation of sustainable licit and environmental activities within ecosystems of great biodiversity, such as the Andes mountain range, the Biogeographic Choco, the Amazon foothills and the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (Santa Marta Snowy Mountain Range).
The U. S. contribution will help prevent further fragmentation, transformation and destruction of national habitats and ecosystems. It will also reduce overexploitation of natural resources, environmental pollution and the introduction of invasive exotic species. Furthermore, it will allow for the strengthening of the institutional capacity and governability of protected areas so that the natural and cultural diversity may be preserved in the long term, as the living conditions of the communities in these areas improve.
This initiative includes developing three main components: first, the implementation of sustainable licit and environmental activities that will contribute to improve the life of local inhabitants; secondly, support to the Natural National Parks Office, the National System of Protected Areas (Sinap in Spanish) and neighboring communities around protected areas. Last but not least, the promotion of community participation in various regional decision-making processes, resulting in the strengthening of their organizations, the protection of cultural heritage and the awareness of their role and responsibility towards the conservation of protected areas and environmental services rendered to the communities.