Colombia commits to protect 30% of its territory in 2022

Colombia will declare 30% of its territory as a protected area in 2022, eight years ahead of schedule, its president announced on Tuesday during the initial COP26 summit, calling on the rest of the countries to preserve biodiversity to save the planet.

"The future of biodiversity also depends on what we do here today", said Iván Duque during an event dedicated to forests and land use on the sidelines of the meeting that precedes the key negotiations of the UN conference on climate change.

The declaration of 30% of the natural heritage as protected areas in all countries in 2030 is a goal that emerged in 2019.

More than seventy countries have joined this initiative, according to updated figures from the so-called High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People (HAC), of which Colombia is a part.

That goal is also part of another major UN Conference, COP15, on Biodiversity, which China is currently piloting.

"It is very important to be carbon neutral but it is also very important to be positive with nature"added Duque, one of more than 100 world leaders who signed the Glasgow Declaration on Tuesday, promising to halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by 2030.

But in Colombia "We are not going to wait until 2030, but today we commit to protect 30% of our territory as a protected area in 2022, because we have to act now", he assured.

And he asked the attendees if a country like Colombia "which only has 0.6% of global greenhouse gas emissions is committed to protecting 30% of our earth by 2022 Why don’t other countries do the same?".

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52% of the Colombian territory is home to tropical rainforest and 35% is Amazonian land, with more than half of the páramos -high-altitude ecosystems- in the world.

Colombia passed anti-deforestation legislation that increases penalties for environmental crimes, Duque stressed.

And he called on the world to start paying for environmental services so that all the protected land on the planet is linked to the "green financing" and can benefit from international carbon markets.

A member of the one billion tree initiative launched two years ago at the Davos economic forum, Colombia also committed to planting 180 million trees by August 2022.

"We are going to achieve it and we will end this year with 120 million trees already planted in Colombia", assured Duque.

Following his participation in COP26, the Colombian president will travel to France for a working lunch with his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, at the Elysee in Paris on Wednesday, the French presidency announced.


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