IRI-Colombia contributes to the formulation of Development Plans

The governors of Guaviare, Caquetá and Putumayo, as well as the mayors of eight Amazonian municipalities, in which IRI-Colombia is present, committed to include the Initiative’s proposals in their Development Plans.

Although our country has a long history in this area, it was not until the 1991 Constitution that it was mandated – through seven articles (152, 259, 339, 340, 342, 343 and 344) – that the management of local, regional and national governments be led and guided by Development Plans. For this reason, it is crucial for IRI-Colombia to advocate for the control of deforestation and, in general, the conservation of Amazonian tropical forests and their biodiversity to be a central element of the environmental components of these planning instruments.

In this sense, during the month of February, it presented to mayors and governors of the municipalities and departments where it is present through its local chapters, a series of proposals to be included in their Development Plans. “For us, it is essential to have an impact on this phase of the formulation, to ensure that during the construction phase of the Multiannual Investment Plan – which should begin around March 1 – the necessary budgets can be allocated to develop programs and projects focused on the control of deforestation and the conservation and restoration of Amazonian ecosystems,”  explains Blanca Lucía Echeverry, national coordinator of the Initiative.

According to Article 259 of the Political Constitution of Colombia, when mayors and governors are elected, the government program presented by the winner is imposed. For this reason, as a starting point for the formulation of the proposals, IRI-Colombia studied the documents corresponding to each municipality and department. “We don’t vote for the presidents but for their government programs. Mayors and governors have the obligation to comply with them and turn them into a Development Plan,” says Diego Dorado, an expert on the subject, former deputy director of the National Planning Department and advisor to the Initiative.

Additionally, with the aim of ensuring that programs aimed at protecting the Amazon are created and implemented, with the participation of communities as the main protagonists, IRI’s proposals were built on three principles that must be reflected in the Development Plans: the problem of deforestation, its impact and the urgency of stopping it to guarantee the well-being of the region and its inhabitants; the importance of the transformative power of communities and the role they can play in the conservation and restoration of the Amazon rainforest and its biodiversity; the need to secure the necessary resources to develop projects that contribute to responding to the control of deforestation.

As a result, the proposals for the municipal and departmental Development Plans include the participation of communities in actions related to the protection of the Amazon forests, the contribution of IRI-Colombia in terms of participation and training around environmental issues; obtaining resources through payment instruments for environmental services and the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development’s call “National Fight against Deforestation for Forestry and Biodiversity Development”; and the promotion of forest tourism programs as a strategy to ensure the economic sustainability of communities committed to the conservation of the Amazon ecosystem.

Advocacy Campaign Moves Forward

The initiatives were delivered during 12 strategic meetings with mayors, governors and planning teams. As a result, the leaders committed to integrate members of the local IRI chapters into their Territorial Planning Councils and to include IRI-Colombia’s proposals in the Development Plans.

These meetings correspond to the second phase of IRI-Colombia’s advocacy campaign that began in August 2023, when it held 16 debates and discussions with 53 mayoral candidates from 13 municipalities and nine candidates for the governorships of Caquetá, Guaviare, and Putumayo. In addition to being the ideal setting for citizens to learn in detail about the candidates’ government proposals on the environment, it allowed the then-candidates to commit to the protection of the Amazon.


The proposals of the Initiative for the Governance of Guaviare respond to the government program “Guaviare avanza”, which focuses on the conservation of the environment with the participation of communities through the sustainable use of nature and the sale of ecosystem services. These were delivered to the team of the departmental Secretariat of Agricultural Development and the Environment, during a meeting in San José del Guaviare, on February 15.

San José del Guaviare

At the municipality’s mayor’s office, the national team of IRI-Colombia and religious leaders of the local chapters of IRI met with the Secretary of Planning, Ariel Mosquera, to present the proposals for the Development Plan that include, among others, the design and execution of programs for the improvement, protection, reforestation and maintenance of micro-watersheds, as well as for the recovery of wetlands with a focus on biodiversity.


On February 17, IRI-Colombia met with the mayor of Calamar, Farid Camilo Castaño, at the municipality’s sports center. The proposals for the Development Plan that IRI-Colombia delivered are aimed at the protection of forests and the recovery and strengthening of the municipality’s environmental board, in line with its government program “Change is now”, which proposes to assume a greater environmental commitment and make better use of natural resources by implementing a responsible and ethical environmental culture.

El Retorno

At the sports center of the La Libertad Police Inspectorate, where the local government of El Retorno was developing the participatory diagnostic tables, IRI-Colombia met with Mayor Jhonny Casanova López to deliver the proposal for the Municipal Development Plan, which includes actions for the prevention of deforestation and the care and conservation of forests.  actions in line with the “Oxygen and Life Factories” program of the government plan “United for economic reactivation”, which recognizes the environment as a priority for life.


IRI-Colombia’s proposal was formulated based on the government program “Miraflores: Destination for Peace and Development”, which proposes to implement actions against deforestation and environmental crimes, promote conservation, reforestation and preservation of forests, and induce a cultural transformation based on identity, commitment and respect for the environment. The initiative was delivered to Municipal Mayor Edwin Iovanny Díaz during a meeting in San José de Guaviare on February 18.


Accompanied by Nudy María Oviedo, religious leader coordinator of IRI-Cartagena del Chairá, and Pastor John Jairo Escobar, coordinator of IRI-Puerto Rico, the national coordinator of IRI-Colombia, Blanca Lucía Echeverry, met with the municipal mayor of Curillo, Javier Villanueva Posso. The proposal presented by IRI was formulated from the government program “Curillo de oportunidades, inclusive y competitivo”, which recognizes the importance of preserving, restoring and conserving ecosystems as areas that generate life, through the development of environmental education programs for citizens.


The IRI-Colombia team met with the governor of Caquetá, Luis Francisco Ruiz, on February 20 in Florencia. The Initiative’s proposal is aligned with the government’s program “Works and not promises,” which promises to work for peaceful and equitable coexistence for the protection, conservation, and restoration of the Amazon biome.

Cartagena del Chairá

The meeting with the mayor of Cartagena del Chairá, Darwin Andrés Flórez, was held on February 20 in Florence. The proposal presented was based on the government program “Let’s govern with results”, which is committed to the environment through the control of deforestation and the adoption of nature-friendly technologies.

San Vicente del Caguán

Pastor Julieth Quevedo, coordinator of the local IRI chapters in the municipality, and Pastor Alexander Llanos delivered the IRI-Colombia proposal to Mayor Luis Trujillo Osorio, during a meeting held on February 23. This includes actions for the prevention of deforestation and is aligned with the government program “We work and serve Caguán”, committed to the pact for zero deforestation and the recovery of protected areas.

Puerto Guzmán

The national coordinator of IRI-Colombia, Blanca Lucía Echeverry, together with Pastor Miguel Antonio Varón, coordinator of the local chapters of IRI in Puerto Leguizamo, met on February 26 with the social manager of Puerto Guzmán, Mónica Daniela González, and the mayor Miguel Ángel Muñoz, who pledged to include the proposals in the Development Plan and to continue accompanying IRI’s actions in the municipality. These are aligned with the government’s “United for Change” program, which promises to promote the participation of communities in the protection and conservation of the territory’s ecosystem and biodiversity.


On February 27, IRI-Colombia met with Magali Hueca, Amir Rivera and Juan Carlos Gutiérrez from the Secretariat of Agricultural Development and Environment of Putumayo. The departmental government team pledged to explore new working arrangements with the Initiative and to include the proposals in the Development Plan. These obey the government’s plan “We are the strength of the people”.

Puerto Asís

Pastor Miguel Antonio Varón, coordinator of the local chapters of IRI in Puerto Leguizamo, met on February 28 in Puerto Asís, with Angie Betancourt, Secretary of Planning, Development and Environment of the municipality to deliver the proposal, in line with the government program “Puerto Asís nuestra gran empresa”, which promises to promote the design and implementation of policies and programs that promote the conservation and responsible use of natural resources.