IRI Colombia leads formation of “Parliamentary Fronts”

IRI Colombia has started the process of forming departmental and regional “parliamentary fronts” that seek to influence the Municipal Councils of Putumayo (13), Caquetá (16), Guaviare (4), and Meta (29). IRI Colombia met with Municipal Councilors of Puerto Asis, with the intention of forming Parliamentary Fronts that bring together Councilors from the 13 municipalities of the department of Putumayo, to work for the defense of the Amazon and its inhabitants. IRI Colombia obtained a very positive response from the Municipal Councilors, who committed to send delegates to the other 12 municipalities of Putumayo to advance in the creation of this movement.  The Municipal Councils are political-administrative and public corporations, elected by popular vote, which perform political control functions over the municipal government. Although they do not have the power to create laws, which falls to the National Congress, they must adopt plans and programs for economic and social development and public works, and dictate the necessary norms for the control, preservation and defense of the ecological and cultural heritage of the municipality, among other functions. The objective of the creation of this Parliamentary Front is to promote legislation that strengthens the region’s capacity to protect the Amazon, but responding to the conditions and contexts of each municipal entity. This is the first step towards the creation of a broader Parliamentary Front that brings together the Municipal Councilors of the four departments where IRI Colombia local IRIs are located – Caquetá, Putumayo, Guaviare and Meta. Both the Municipal Councils and the Departmental Assemblies play an essential role in the development of the municipalities and departments. Unlike the Municipal Councils, which act at the local level, the Departmental Assemblies act at the regional level and, in addition to performing political control functions over the departmental government, approve the municipal budget, follow up and control the programs and projects carried out in their territorial entity, among others. Likewise, at the national level, IRI Colombia has been working on the creation of the Front for the Amazon in the Congress of the Republic. The objective is to mobilize the local (Municipal Councils), regional (Departmental Assemblies) and national (Congress of the Republic) into a single front to promote the development and implementation of regulations that strengthen governance and protection of the Amazon.