New WWF-backed US$245 million initiative named Herencia Colombia will help safeguard 32 million hectares of land and marine areas that both people and wildlife rely on over the next 10 years.
New initiative Securing Colombia’s natural heritage
A new WWF-backed initiative will help to safeguard huge expanses of Colombian wilderness that both people and wildlife rely on.
Heritage Colombia – or Herencia Colombia in Spanish – is a new US$245 million initiative that will help to safeguard 32 million hectares (123,500 sq miles) of land and marine areas over the next 10 years.
Colombia is home to 10% of the world’s biodiversity, living in wildernesses ranging from dense rainforests and glacier-tipped mountains to rolling coastal sand dunes and multi-coloured coral reefs.
These are vital havens for wildlife like the iconic and threatened jaguars, harpy eagles and pink river dolphins. But they also benefit people in Colombia and around the world – providing everything from fresh water, food and livelihoods to supporting global efforts to tackle the climate crisis.
WWF welcomed the opportunity to join the Colombian government, together with a broad coalition of community, public sector and private sector partners, in launching Heritage Colombia.
This will help secure the lasting conservation of new or expanded areas in the heart of the Amazon, the San Lucas Mountains, the Central Andes, the Orinoco River and the Caribbean Coast, and opens the door to new and expanded marine protected areas in the Caribbean and Pacific — achieving Colombia’s goal of protecting 30% of its oceans and seas.
An INNOVATIVE FINANCING model makes it possible
"Herencia Colombia makes use of Project Finance for Permanence (PFP) as an innovative financing mechanism which brings together the private sector, civil society and the Colombian Government to preserve natural capital in perpetuity,” said Sandra Valenzuela, the Executive Director of WWF-Colombia.
PFPs secure necessary policy changes and funding and bind them together in a single agreement, ensuring conservation areas are well managed, sustainably financed and benefit the communities who depend on them.
“This transaction matters because it will help finance the long-term protection of over 32 million hectares of Colombia’s most treasured places,” added Carter Roberts, President and CEO of WWF-US. “But it also matters because it charts a course for other nations to follow in financing the protection of their own landscapes and seascapes.”
HELPING THE AMAZON
The initiative locks in a regional cluster of PFP initiatives that, together, provide permanent protections for approximately 12% of the entire Amazon rainforest.
“The launch of Herencia Colombia is not just a milestone for the country, but for the greater Amazon,” said Fran Price, Lead, WWF Global Forest Practice. “Protected and conserved areas include natural resources that people need in order to thrive and survive, and they are critical to the livelihood of local communities. For every US$1 invested in the effective management of natural resources in protected areas, we get $100 worth of value in benefits for people—in the form of clean water, food and more.”
‘HECO’ is a major milestone in protecting the nation’s landscapes and seascapes
Simply put, there is no other place like Colombia. Glacier-tipped mountains to multi-coloured coral reefs. Dense rainforests to open savannahs. Rolling coastal sand dunes to cloud-shrouded alpine tundras. More species of birds, amphibians, butterflies, and frogs than any other place in the world.
It’s no wonder, then, that Colombia ranks second in the world—behind only Brazil—for biodiversity. In fact, per square kilometre, Colombia is the most biodiverse country in the world.
Beyond lending Colombia its unique natural beauty, many of these places that have been stewarded by Colombia’s more than 90 Indigenous communities for millennia provide an abundance of natural resources.
Millions of Colombians and people around the world depend on these resources for their sustenance, safety, and survival: clean air and water, food and medicines, and carbon absorbed and stored away from our warming atmosphere. Iconic and threatened wildlife like jaguars, harpy eagles, and pink river dolphins also depend on these habitats and the resources they provide.
Protecting these landscapes and seascapes requires significant human and financial resources, and a new Project Finance for Permanence (PFP) initiative called Herencia Colombia—which translates to Heritage Colombia—will support Colombia to both maintain and increase those protections.
The initiative is about more than just protected areas
The Herencia Colombia PFP (also known as HECO) secures the lasting conservation of 79 million acres of new or expanded areas in the heart of the Amazon, the San Lucas Mountains, the Central Andes, the Orinoco Transition, and the Caribbean Coast, and helps establish further marine protected areas in the Caribbean and Pacific.
Launching the Herencia Colombia PFP will mark two further achievements: the 49 million acres of marine protected areas included in the Herencia Colombia PFP meet Colombia’s 30×30 target to protect 30% of its ocean by 2030, and it locks in the permanent protection of about 12% of the entire Amazon rain forest in concert with the PFP initiatives in Brazil and Peru.
This initiative is about more than protected areas—safeguarding Colombia’s natural places helps the country meet its international sustainable development, climate, and biodiversity commitments while providing real benefits to Colombians.
The Herencia Colombia PFP works in protected areas as well as the landscapes and seascapes around them, supporting communities who depend on these lands for their livelihoods by providing incentives and alternatives to improve their natural resource management practices that increase resilience to climate change and support conservation.
PLEDGE FOR OUR PLANET (WWF)
Our planet is facing major conservation challenges from threats like climate change, deforestation, overfishing, and illegal wildlife trade. But protecting our planet and keeping planetary warming below 1.5C (2.7° F) is not impossible and none of us need to do it alone. Our impact on the planet primarily comes from what we eat, what we buy, how we power our homes, and how we travel from place to place. Of course, governmental policies and protections also play an important role.nTogether, we can take action to create lasting solutions and protect the future of nature. At WWF, we're committed to protecting the planet. Will you join us?