Strengthening the commitment to the Amazon

On May 28th, IRI-Colombia met with its Advisory Council to present the Initiative’s progress during 2023 and socialize the work plan for 2024.

During the meeting, the coordinator of IRI-Colombia, Blanca Lucía Echeverry, explained in detail the local intervention strategy developed through 42 local chapters -located in the so-called “deforestation arc”-, and the advocacy process that the Initiative has been carrying out since August last year, thanks to which the mayors of 13 Amazonian municipalities and the governors of Caquetá, Guaviare and Putumayo included an environmental component in their territorial development plans, aimed at controlling deforestation and protecting the Amazonian ecosystem, and integrated religious leaders who are members of IRI-Colombia into the Territorial Planning Councils.

Likewise, the national advisor, Carlos Augusto Lozano, and the program officer, Diana Cristina Carvajal, presented the strategies for capacity building and communications, respectively, and the results achieved in these areas.

Other issues addressed were the worsening security conditions in the territories, which currently impede monitoring and control by the authorities and the work of organizations in deforested areas; as well as the participation of IRI-Colombia in the United Nations Conference on Biodiversity (COP16), to be held in Cali in October.

Pastor Edgar Castaño, from the Evangelical Confederation of Colombia (CEDECOL); Bishop Francisco Duque, president of the Interreligious Council of Colombia; Deacon Alirio Cáceres, representing the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network (REPAM Colombia); Reverend Gloria Ulloa of the World Council of Churches; Silje Marie Haugland and Magdalena Arbeláez of the Norwegian Embassy in Colombia; Siri Damman of Rainforest Foundation Norway; and Mauricio Bedoya of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).