IRI Colombia installs new local chapters in Curillo, expanding national network to 39

To further IRI Colombia’s territorial intervention strategy in Amazonian municipalities most affected or threatened by deforestation, IRI Colombia recently launched three new local chapters: IRI Curillo, IRI Vereda Gallinazo, and IRI Vereda Mayoyoque. Each of the three chapters is a platform for religious leaders, churches and community organizations to work together with indigenous peoples, authorities, scientists, academia and private enterprise to contribute to the protection of the Amazon rainforest in the municipality. The installation of the chapters was attended by 45 religious leaders who received training on: the theology of creation, a dialogue between faith and science on how to act together on the protection of the Amazon rainforest and on the relationship between pastoral action and protection of the environment; deforestation and social dynamics, with presentations on general trends in deforestation, biodiversity loss and, especially, of the links between deforestation and human rights; and deforestation and climate change, a session that examined the basic scientific links between deforestation, climate change, biodiversity loss, and water and food insecurity. The chapter launch also included a workshop on the development of environmental and pastoral action plans for the chapters, where the group identified priority actions, social mapping and a joint program of work. Curillo is a region of growing deforestation as well as a commercial center for illegally harvested timber.