Environment on agenda in Colombian talks with ELN


A peace accord signed with the FARC in 2016 spurred land clearing in Colombian forests like this one, as guerrilla fighters disbanded and the government failed to follow up with adequate environmental enforcement. (Photo by Colombian Environment Ministry)

Colombians could look forward to the end of seven decades of armed conflict when the government in 2016 signed a peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the country’s biggest guerrilla group. Unfortunately, they would not see an end to destruction of the country’s forestland, much of which had been controlled by guerrilla fighters. After registering 177,765 hectares (439,267 acres) in 2016, deforestation climbed to 219,552 hectares in 2017 and stood at 200,000 hectares in 2018 before retreating to 175,000 hectares in 2021, slightly below the 2016 level. Many experts say the figures underscored a key error in the 2016 peace process: little provision was made to ensure environmental protection of lands the guerrillas vacated, leaving those areas open to deforestation for ranching, illegal logging, mining and other destructive activities. Against that backdrop, the government of left-leaning President Gustavo Petro is taking pains to include environmental... [Log in to read more]

Would you like to Subscribe?