Orinoco River Basin REDD+, Colombia

Type: Nature-based Solutions | Forest Conservation (REDD+)
Region: South America
Standard: VCS, CCB

This REDD+ project invests in the women and men living in and depending on the forests of the Orinoco river basin in Colombia; to make a lasting change in behavior towards sustainable practices, forest protection and conservation. Forest protection efforts must take a holistic approach to conservation emphasizing community, specifically education and gender equality.

This project is a high impact way to stop deforestation, supporting all 17 SDGs. As a community, the project participants protect over 1 million hectares of tropical forests in the Indigenous Reservations of Colombia, while safeguarding its biodiversity and providing education, healthcare, sanitation, food security, among other co-benefits for over 15,000 indigenous people. The project has eight parts: surveillance of the area,  improvement of systems, strengthening governance, development of family-based agri-food systems, training and education programs indigenous communities, non-timber forest products, validation, monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV).

In addition to delivering emissions reductions to help take urgent action to combat climate change (SDG 13), the project delivers a number of other sustainable development benefits. It has been verified by the Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCB) standards (which is run by Verra) to contribute to all 17 SDGs, these include:

  • Zero Hunger: Project activities such as Family Agri-food Production Units Systems promote the cultivation of traditional food products. As well as feeding the communities, these products are used for trade, which provides economic resources that can then be use to purchase nourishment that the communities cannot produce, improving diets in both quantity and quality. 
  • Good Health and Well-being: Project health care programs construct health posts, provide medical protection/prevention elements, and offer health days. Professionals are also trained in health issues and treated water to prevent diseases is provided to communities. With the protection of natural and environmental resources, health conditions are improved and socio-ecosystem services such as those provided by air and water provide human well-being.
  • Quality Education: Educational programs have been developed through which indigenous guards, captains, leaders, and members of the communities are trained to manage natural resources. Also, support is given to higher education students who will be the future professionals of communities for the subsequent administration of the territory and its resources. The educational facilities inside the Indigenous Reservation have also improved, with the construction of classrooms and feeding troughs, and the provision of school kits for children in basic education. 
  • Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure: The implementation of projects in production chains is being promoted, for example, in the agroforestry cultivation of cocoa, plantain, and corn. The infrastructure that has been built responds to the needs of the communities, such as checkpoints for the indigenous guard; the provision of boats, engines and navigation equipment; the development of educational infrastructure and care for the child population; and the construction of headquarters for the project offices in Cumaribo and Inírida.
  • Sustainable Cities and Communities: Traditionally, the indigenous communities have been sustainable, although with unsatisfied basic needs. With this REDD+ project, the community can continue to operate sustainably but with the support of strengthened production systems in their crops, improved communication and transportation systems through new bridges and roads, stronger leadership of their representatives, better education options for its members, basic health services, treated water, and improved housing.

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