Colombia keeps focus on fighting deforestation

According to Friday’s remarks from Environment Minister Susana Muhamad, Colombia will prioritize stopping deforestation, exerting more control over the livestock business, and proposing the cancellation of external debt in exchange for environmental protection.

In Colombia, deforestation increased 1.5% in 2021 to 174,103 hectares (430,218 acres), of which 112,899 were in the Amazon region of the country.

Because of the enormous amount of greenhouse gases it absorbs, the preservation of the Amazon, the biggest rainforest in the world, is thought to be essential to preventing catastrophic climate change.

Stopping deforestation is the first task, according to Muhamad, who also stressed the importance of fully implementing a peace agreement between the government and the FARC guerrillas, who have since been demobilized.

After the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) demobilized in 2016, large tracts of forest were abruptly opened up to agricultural and criminal gangs who moved into the former rebels’ territory, resulting in a sharp increase in deforestation.

Monitoring the cattle sector will be another difficulty, according to Muhamad.

The tracing of livestock and the meat sector is a huge objective, she stated.

Muhamad continued, “Today, 80% is untraceable, and we as a society should commit to ensuring that there are no products in supermarkets that originate from deforested areas.

In addition, the administration will ask for the cancellation of Colombia’s foreign debt in return for conservation efforts, as socialist President Gustavo Petro suggested last Sunday during his inauguration.

“We are going with President Gustavo Petro to the international level to seek cancellation of external debt in exchange for nature, because obviously in the country’s fiscal accounts and in the national budget we’re putting a lot of money into paying foreign debt and, as we know, we are in a tight fiscal situation,” she said.

Muhamad continued, “I think that this exchange of debt for nature is a solid recipe for environmental justice.

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