Luis Gilberto Murillo

Management balance and accomplishments 2016 - 2018 ministry of environment and sustainable development


During the last 8 years Colombia tripled the natural areas to be protected.

• Nearly 43 million hectares of the country are fostered under a certain conservation strategy (protected areas, forest reserves of Law 2°, delimited paramos and RAMSAR wetlands).
• Protected areas in Colombia now cover about 14% of the country’s land. Colombia went from 12.6 million hectares of protected areas in 2010 to 30.8 million in 2018.
• In 2010, Chiribiquete National Park had an area of nearly 1.3 million hectares. By 2018, its area had expanded to 4.3 million hectares, becoming the largest protected area of the country and achieving its inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
• International goals were met and exceeded through the declaration of 12.8 million hectares of marine protected areas, which are equivalent to 13.7% of the coastal marine territory. This was achieved, in part, by going from about 1 million protected hectares in Malpelo (2010) to almost 4.5 million in 2018.
37 paramos were delimited which are equivalent to 50% of the world's paramos, and benefiting more than 30 million inhabitants of Colombia.
• Likewise, by 2018, 12 wetlands had been designated as RAMSAR sites of international importance to protect water and contribute on its care. As of 2010, 5 wetlands had this category.

The great commitment against deforestation and for recovery of degraded areas

• The country launched the Comprehensive Strategy of Deforestation Control and Forest Management to conserve and improve forest management, reduce deforestation and contribute in reducing Greenhouse Gas -GHG emissions.
• The Intersectoral Commission for Deforestation Control and Forest Protection was created in order to create policies and strategic projects aiming to prevent deforestation.
• The IDEAM Monitoring and Early Warning System of Deforestation was strengthened and complemented with 3 Regional Coordinatiors that take action in areas with the highest deforestation rates: Norte de Santander, Choco, Cauca, Huila, Caqueta, Guaviare, Guainia, Vaupes, Putumayo and Amazonas.
• In 2018, IDEAM went from processing 100 satellite images for forest monitoring to processing 1,550. Currently, 4 Early Deforestation Alerts are generated per year, in 2010 this tool was not available.
• The latest deforestation rates are decreasing as a result of the efforts made. Although initiatives such as Amazon Vision and Green Belt for the Amazon have been implemented, deforestation continues to grow in this area.
• A strategy for closing the agricultural frontier or stabilization strip was designed with the Ministry of Agriculture to guarantee the protection of forests and natural ecosystems.
• We received the country in 2010 with 310,000 hectares of restored areas and we reached nearly 625 thousand in 2018. To date, 315 thousand hectares have already been restored.

Economic instruments for environmental services (regulated and in process of implementation)

• To generate a perceptional and cultural change, in economic actors and citizens, regarding natural resources, many economic instruments were established and their commitment and contribution to the achievement of the country's environmental goals was reinforced.
• The fee for hunting wildlife, the fee for using the “Bosque Oriental de Bogota” (Eastern Woods of Bogota) Protective Forest Reserve and the first compensatory fee for timber harvesting, are some of these instruments.
• Two types of incentives were established : tax benefits to encourage care for the environment and taxes to mitigate Greenhouse Gases – GHG (carbon tax) and to encourage plastic recycling and consumption reduction (plastic bag tax).
• Incentives were also created for conservation or Payment for Environmental Services - PSA, which recognize conservation and restoration actions by owners, possessors or occupants of properties in areas and ecosystems of strategic interest.

Environmental management with other sectors was promoted

• Thanks to the post-consumer waste programs, adequate environmental management of over 25 thousand tons of waste from computers and peripherals, light bulbs, batteries and accumulators, pesticide containers has been achieved.
• The use of over 14 million units of recycled materials of batteries and used tires has been achieved.
• The private investment of $6 billion per year was promoted for the implementation of post-consumption programs.
• Nearly 900 product and service initiatives related to the environment were identified, supporting more than 6,600 families, with over $136,000 million in sales during the past year.

A commitment to climate change

• Colombia led the discussion, ratified the Paris Agreement on climate change and committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% before 2030 to make progress in adapting to climate change effect and to move towards a low-carbon economy.
• The Climate Change Law project was presented to the Congress of the Republic, the Policy and the Conpes were formulated and the campaign for adaptation and mitigation was created.
• The country has 27 comprehensive climate change plans and 6 sectors include climate change mitigation and adaptation plans.
• In 2012 Colombia proposed the Sustainable Development Goals and in 2015 they were approved at the United Nations General Assembly so that the global community would commit to strategic goals including environmental protection.

The country is already harnessing the benefits of peace for the environment and sustainable development

• The environmental sector has benefited from the cease-fire by appropriating and opening National Parks (PNN), which could not be visited previously. In 2010, nearly 680,000 people visited the National Parks throughout the country. In 2017 numbers reached 1.7 million visitors and as of March 2018, there has been 574,541 visitors. This exhibits an increasing trend.
• There was progress in our knowledge thanks to sixteen expeditions done by Colombia-Bio to learn about our immense biodiversity,. These expeditions spawned excellent results: 126 possible new species, 133 endemic species, 211 species under conservation criteria and 5 rediscovered species. Nine of the expeditions took place in post-conflict areas.
• Over 6,000 families will benefit from the Forests of Peace Program. These include victims, ex-combatants and the peasant community of 270,000 hectares of forests.
• In compliance with the Final Agreement, progress has been made in the formulation of the Environmental Zoning Plan, covering 200 municipalities (170 of them are part of the Development Program of Territorial Approach (PDET))- Also, the participation strategy to apply the Zoning Plan for agricultural border closure is being formulated.