On 22 November, IRI Colombia brought together more than 20 members of Congress who joined the Parliamentary Front for the Protection of the Colombian Amazon. The inter-parliamentary network is made up of national, departmental, and municipal legislative leaders, including councillors, deputies and senators from various political parties that seek to include the protection of tropical forests and the Amazon at the top of the legislative agendas.
The creation of this block is part of the IRI Colombia advocacy strategy, establishing an alliance between popularly elected authorities at the territorial level (departments and municipalities) and the national level (senators and representatives to the Chamber of Deputies). This strategy aims to create a network of councillors (authorities at the municipal level), deputies (authorities at the departmental level) and congressmen (authorities at the national level) in order to: (i) promote the adoption of environmental public policies for the integral protection of the Amazon and the defense of the rights of the indigenous and peasant communities that inhabit it, (ii) promote the inclusion of programs and projects for the prevention of deforestation in the Amazon and its ecosystem restoration in municipal, departmental and national development plans, and (iii) the mobilization of efforts to promote the adequate fulfilment of commitments made by the Colombian State in terms of protection of environmental and human rights defenders, protection and restoration of the Amazon, and compliance with climate change policies.
The meeting was attended by: the Bishop of the Anglican Church Francisco Duque, president of the Interreligious Council of Colombia; Gabriel Torres and Manuel Ortiz, from the Organization of Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon Colombia (OPIAC); Martin Von Hildebrand, honorary president and founder of Gaia Amazonas; and 20 religious and social leaders from IRI’s local chapters in Cartagena del Chairá, San Vicente del Caguán, Puerto Rico and San José del Guaviare.
“This alliance seeks to create a pluralistic network of legislators that will actively work to respond to the commitment to protect tropical forests and the Amazon”Blanca Lucía Echeverry, National Facilitator of IRI Colombia