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Supporting initiatives to conserve páramo and water resources in Colombia

(24 june 2014)

During this year I have been involved with various activities to support several interesting initiatives for the conservation of the páramos and water resources, with an emphasis on Colombia. In the first place, I continued to be part of the Scientific Committee for the delimitation of the páramo at the national level. This is a process with important implications for the environmental and economic policy of Colombia. I have written about this initiative before (see below; News 4 September 2013) but during this year, the scale was increased and included wetlands delimitation

I also participated in the formulation of a regional project, in Colombia, Peru and Ecuador, for the conservation of the páramo, focusing on institutional coordination, supporting communities and generation and exchange of knowledge. This project, probably starting in January 2015, will be executed by the von Humboldt Institute, several CAR and organizations such as IUCN and WWF and financed by the European Union. This work took me to many places in the three countries and I re-encountered with many friends who are passionate about the preservation of páramo.

Finally, in these days I am traveling frequently to the beautiful city of Manizales, to support a very interesting process for the management of the Chinchina watershed. This basin starts at the Cumanday volcano (Nevado del Ruiz), in los Nevados National Park, and covers Andean forests, livestock areas, villages, the coffee region, cities and tropical areas near the Cauca River. Local institutions have reached agreement to promote joint action ("Pactos para la cuenca Chinchiná") in an innovative way: first, inter-institutional commitment is achieved before defining the specific action and funding. Now that there is a strong commitment, actions are various and well coordinated. I am passionate about working in this area, because it is a positive process, with enthusiastic people and the Nevados Park is my "cradle" in South America: this is where I did my early work 25 years ago.