Paying for the destruction of nature: A good green role model? | Global Ideas | DW | 26.03.2019
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Paying for the destruction of nature: A good green role model?

In Colombia, a gas firm is building a pipeline through a threatened ecosystem but is paying to protect plants and animals elsewhere. Is this compensation model a sensible way to protect nature?

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Colombia: Gas firm redresses eco-damage

Project goal: Improving the model for financial compensation paid by firms encroaching on the environment and biodiversity in Colombia.

Project implementation: Identifying the ecosystems disturbed by the Promigas San Mateo gas pipeline and compensating for that impact.

Project partners (in Colombia): United Nations Biodiversity Finance Initiative (UNDP-BIOFIN), Alexander von Humboldt Biological Resources Research Institute, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the National Business Association of Colombia (ANDI) and Promigas

Biodiversity: Colombia's dry broadleaf forests are home to 2,600 plant species and 350 animal species including the peccary and the red howler monkey.

Project financing: The global BIOFIN budget is $55 million. The German Environment Ministry is providing €17.3 million ($19.7 million) within the framework of its International Climate Initiative (IKI).

In Colombia's dry broadleaf forests, unique plants and animals such as the red howler monkey and pig-like peccary find themselves living in ever smaller quarters as development eats away at their habitat.

Still, many people in rural areas are living in energy poverty, and expanding much-needed power infrastructure means further encroaching on this delicate habitat. Promigas is building the San Mateo - Mamonal gas pipeline through parts of the forest, felling trees and destroying habitat in the process.

But the firm is also taking part in the UN Biodiversity Initiative's Financing (BIOFIN) program that encourages companies to compensate environmental damage by boosting biodiversity elsewhere in the country. Can such a program serve as a model to protect nature while allowing infrastructure development?

A film by Christian Roman

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