Project Title/ID: Mainstreaming biodiversity conservation in palm cropping in Colombia / #4113
Type of Project: Full Size Project
Approved on: 2012-02-13
Colombia is a megadiverse country that is home to close to 14% of the world's biodiversity. Despite this recognized wealth, natural ecosystems are increasingly being lost at a quickened pace as they are converted to agricultural uses. In the particular case of oil palm, cultivation in Colombia has expanded rapidly over the last two decades, from 111,380 hectares in 1990 to 156,070 hectares in 2000 and 403,684 hectares in 2010. Currently, oil palm cultivation is the third largest in extension in Colombia, after coffee and bananas, and for the next 20 years it is expected to be the crop with the largest planted area in the country.
With a $4.25 million GEF grant and $14.3 million in cofinance, the Inter-American Development Bank is serving as the GEF implementing agency for the project "Mainstreaming Biodiversity in Palm Cropping in Colombia with an Ecosystem Approach" that seeks to promote the adoption of biodiversity friendly agro-ecological practices in the northern and eastern regions of the country, which are prioritized for the expansion of oil palm cultivation. The project will be executed by the National Federation of Oil Palm Growers (Fedepalma) over the next five years and seeks to (i) lower the percentage of new palm-growing areas that displace High Conservation Value Areas (HCVA); (ii) increase HCVA surface area in palm-production units that is legally protected and under conservation management (protection and restoration); and (iii) increase average net income of small-scale palm producers associated with the project as a result of their participation.
Moreover, the project aims to generate knowledge, specific methodological tools, and technical capacity by: (i) strengthening the planning processes for crop expansion and integrated ecosystem management; (ii) introducing tools and practices aimed at facilitating conservation and provision of environmental services; and (iii) promoting alternative uses and markets for certified agrobiodiversity products from oil palm plantations based on sustainability principles and biodiversity criteria . Additionally, the project was designed carefully in order to allow for the implementation of a rigorous evaluation that aims to identify the project's impact on the key outcome indicators by comparing the beneficiaries with a control group, which will be selected using an experimental approach. The conclusions of the analysis will reduce the knowledge gap that exists in regards to the effectiveness of this type of intervention in the Latin American region.
This project is poised to take action at the coalface of biodiversity mainstreaming addressing one of the most challenging threats to biodiversity, agricultural expansion and its impact on biodiversity. Successfully meeting this challenge will be critical for the achievement of Aichi Target Seven.