Colombia: Gas firm redresses eco-damage | Global Ideas DW 26.3.19

Video URL

Improving the model for financial compensation paid by firms encroaching on the environment and biodiversity in Colombia.

In Colombia's dry broadleaf forests, unique plants and animals such as the red howler monkey and pig-like peccary find themselves living in ever smaller quarters as development eats away at their habitat. Still, many people in rural areas are living in energy poverty, and expanding much-needed power infrastructure means further encroaching on this delicate habitat. 

BIOFIN supports the National Environmental System in Colombia to highlight the challenges and opportunities for increased investment in conservation, sustainable use and equitable distribution of benefits derived from ecosystems and biodiversity.

BIOFIN  has analyzed different financial mechanisms most suitable t the complex environmental and social context in Colombia. One mechanism being pursued is the offsetting or compensation for biodiversity loss by proponents that cause harm or loss to the environment. In Colombia, the National Business Association (ANDI), the Research Institute of Biological Resources Alexander von Humboldt (IAvH), The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and UNDP identify challenges and solutions that contribute to the better understanding and implementation of biodiversity offsets and compensation schemes.

One of the compensation cases analyzed in Colombia was the San Mateo-Mamonal gas pipeline of Promigas S.A. E.S.P. as a case study of linear compensation that can help the country to understand how this mechanism functions and to make it more effective.

Promigas is building the pipeline through parts of the forest, felling trees in the process in a narrow but long tract of land. But the firm is also taking part in the biodiversity offsets program that compensates te for environmental damage by boosting and protecting biodiversity elsewhere in the country. When environmental damage is not avoidable well managed and designed compensations programs serve as a model to protect nature while allowing infrastructure development.

The compensation funds are partly used to work with communities who live in and around forests, to restore damaged habitat, implement reforestation, and generating productive processes for agriculture and livelihood activities. 

A film by DW's Christian Roman