IRI Colombia Delivers Advocacy Campaign, Public Debates On Forests With Mayoral Candidates In 10 Amazon Municipalities

During August, IRI Colombia organized 10 debates with mayoral candidates in priority municipalities in Caquetá, Guaviare, and Putumayo, with over 19,000 people attending and viewing the events through in-person and online engagement. These debates, conducted with the support of the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network (REPAM-Colombia), allowed 43 mayoral candidates to present their government proposals on forests to the public. Candidates put forth diverse environmental and community-focused plans, such as creating an environmental tax for forest preservation, transitioning to sustainable cattle ranching, and implementing waste management and recycling programs. There was a recurring call for better coordination between local, regional, and national institutions, as well as international support. As a result, 37 mayoral candidates signed IRI Colombia’s programmatic commitment statement and agreement, committing to prioritize Amazon forest protection, develop projects for ecosystem restoration and conservation, and uphold the rights of local communities, emphasizing equity and environmental justice. These debates align with IRI Colombia’s advocacy strategy to foster laws, programs, and policies that safeguard forests, combat deforestation, address biodiversity loss, mitigate climate change, and defend the rights of indigenous, peasant, and Afro-descendant communities residing in these areas.