Following the signing of the Peace Agreement, the European Union, together with 21 of its Member States, the United Kingdom and Chile, created the European Fund for Peace in response to the Colombian government’s requests to accompany the implementation of the Agreement in the areas most affected by the armed conflict. Thus, in 2018, the project Caminemos Territorios Sostenibles – Caminemos began in the department of Guaviare, operated by ONF Andina (Office National des Forêts), and launched in the municipalities of Calamar, El Retorno and San José del Guaviare.
After four years of implementation, the project ends with important results, including the development of strategies that contributed to ensuring food and nutritional security and access to safe water for participating families, as well as support for community initiatives such as the Cooperativa Multiactiva Agroforestal del Itilla – Coagritilla, a pioneering organisation for leading the first Forest Management Plan in the department with more than 6,200 hectares under sustainable forest management. Through its plan, Coagritilla implements actions to reduce deforestation, seeking to encourage the sustainable use of timber forest products and improve the socio-economic conditions of the communities.
It also highlights the work with two hundred signatories of the Peace Agreement located in the former Territorial Training and Reincorporation Areas of Charras and Colinas, through the strengthening of sheep and egg production, fish farming, pig breeding, and community tourism initiatives.
Actions have been promoted to curb deforestation in Guaviare, such as forest conservation agreements with 400 families. Based on a land planning exercise applied to each of their farms, initiatives for livestock reconversion with silvopastoral systems were implemented, which have made it possible to restore 280 hectares of forest and conserve more than 13,200 hectares.
For the Ambassador of the European Union, Gilles Bertrand: “Caminemos ends its work with tangible results that have contributed to improving the quality of life of the communities in the three municipalities, and that have contributed to the protection of one of the most invaluable resources in the world: the Amazon forest. Likewise, the project has developed important actions for the consolidation of peace in one of the territories most affected by the conflict, working hand in hand with the strong commitment of peasant communities, signatories of the Peace Agreement, young people and women”.
With the aim of giving continuity to some of the actions implemented by Caminemos, the TerrAmaz project, financed by the French Development Agency and led by the International Cooperation Centre for Agricultural Research for Development (CIRAD), supports the promotion of sustainable production systems related to the production, processing and marketing of agricultural products through competitive funds with agro-environmental measures and revolving funds, as well as training in sustainable practices and farm planning.
Thanks to the first research led by CIRAD, in 2022, Guaviare has proposals to improve the appropriation of the Environmental Units for Peace and Social Services – UAPSS by the communities. The UAPSS are at the heart of the land-use planning strategy developed by the Governor of Guaviare for the stabilisation of the agricultural frontier.
According to Sonia Barbry, First Counsellor of the French Embassy in Colombia, “The TerrAmaz programme is important for France and for the fight against climate change. The Amazon is the lungs of humanity and that is why President Emmanuel Macron launched in 2019, with partner countries, the Alliance for the preservation of tropical forests. Combating deforestation in the Amazon and promoting sustainable development models in the region are priorities for the French government”.
These results obtained in the department are evidence of Team Europe’s commitment to peace-building and the preservation of the Guaviare Amazonian forest, as well as its support for its communities who, even in difficult circumstances, continue to support peace and the protection of the environmental resources of this part of the country.
About the European Peace Facility
The European Fund for Peace is a European Union cooperation mechanism created to accompany the Colombian government in the implementation of the Peace Agreement, with emphasis on Point 1 on Integral Rural Development and Point 3 on the reincorporation of former FARC-EP combatants into civilian life. Within the framework of the Fund, 31 interventions have been implemented which aim to contribute to the reconciliation of Colombian society, the social and economic reincorporation of ex-combatants, gender equity and the inclusion of vulnerable sectors of the population, sustainable and inclusive rural development, and the legitimising presence of the state and local governance. The geographical coverage of the different actions of the Fund covers 27 departments and 145 municipalities in the country.
About the Agence Française de Développement – AFD
The Agence Française de Développement (AFD) is a public institution that implements French development and international solidarity policy on issues such as climate, biodiversity, peace, education, urban planning, health, governance and others. Engaged in more than 4,000 projects with a strong social and environmental impact in the French overseas territories and in 115 countries around the world, its teams contribute to the commitment of France and the French people to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
About ONF Andina
ONF Andina is the branch of the international branch of the Office National des Forêts – ONF, a French public entity that manages and conserves forests. Since 2001, the year of its creation, it has been dedicated to consultancy and integrated project management in the areas of sustainable forest management, conservation and ecosystem management, integrated rural development, territorial and environmental planning, climate and carbon, and information systems. Its team aims to support the balance between conservation and sustainable use of natural resources, contribute to the protection of biodiversity and improve the living conditions of communities in Latin America and the Caribbean.
CIRAD is the French agricultural research and international cooperation agency for the sustainable development of tropical and Mediterranean regions. With its partners, it is jointly building knowledge and solutions for resilient agriculture in a more sustainable and inclusive world.