• Two new geoportals warn of present and future risks for strategic ecosystems in Colombia.
  •  New tools facilitate access to information for local and regional communities.
  • More than 245 road infrastructure, mining, power line, hydrocarbon, and dams projects were identified and mapped in the influence area of the páramos (high-altitude wetlands) in Cundinamarca.
  • The departments with the most alerts are Antioquia, with 497, and Santander with 327.

Bogotá DC, April 11th, 2019

 

The organization Ambiente y Sociedad launched two new geoportals on megaprojects in strategic ecosystems. These were created to facilitate transparency and access to information for communities, social organizations, academics, and others interested in the subject.

The first geoportal, an alert early system for megaprojects in Colombia (www.ecosistemasenalerta.info) is an information tool that makes it possible to identify, in an early and timely way, ecosystems potentially threatened by the implementation of mining-energy and infrastructure megaprojects in the country’s high-priority conservation areas. These areas have been cataloged as such due to their relevance in terms of biodiversity. The geoportal was developed through a support agreement with the Global Forest Watch platform. 

Besides pinpointing the location of the alerts, the platform provides information on the type of megaproject, the contract number, the threatened ecosystem, and its conservation priority. The alert system seeks to facilitate an early detection of risks, promote and facilitate the activation of action mechanisms from communities that could be affected, and it is hoped that it will become a tool to empower communities, favoring local governance processes in their territories. To date, a total of 519 alerts have been generated on hydrocarbon projects, 70 for hydroelectric, 201 for 4G roads, and 580 for mining projects.

“In the future we hope to contribute even more information, we hope to reach a more local and participatory level so that people can add their alerts and report projects that aren’t visible but represent an environmental and social threat” affirmed Hernando Ovalle, general coordinator,  researcher, and SIG developer.

The second geoportal on Páramos and high ecological and social impact megaprojects (www.cuidemoslosparamos.info) “was designed as a tool that would allow different stakeholders who live and work in these high mountain territories to learn about the development projects that are being implemented in their life spaces, so they can quickly and easily access and consult precise information on the projects,” indicated Andrea Prieto, Geographer at the Asociación Ambiente y Sociedad and Research Co-coordinator.

This initiative was born out of research carried out with the Fundación Educación, Investigación y Desarrollo – FIDHAP, in the context of the project “Conservation, Restoration, and the Sustainable Use of Ecosystemic Services in the Páramos of Sumapaz, Chingaza, and Guerrero, and the Eastern Mountains of Bogotá and their influence areas,” which identified projects with a major impact in the influence area of the Cundinamarca páramos. In total, 328 projects were identified: 272 mining titles, 41 roadway projects, 10 for hydrocarbons, 2 dams, and 3 for power lines. Of these, 245 were characterized and mapped, and can be seen and consulted in the geoportal. Ambiente y Sociedad has updated the information on 20 of the most representative megaprojects in this area.

Andrea Prieto commented that, “this tool is helpful to strengthen and back the actions of different social stakeholders who look to defend their territories. Also, the geoportal was designed with a simple language, so that any person, community, or organization can use it without needing to have previous knowledge of other programs. It seeks to reduce the gap between local communities and technologies based on geographic information.” 

Also, the geoportal was designed with a simple language, so that any person, community, or organization can use it without needing to have previous knowledge of other programs. It seeks to reduce the gap between local communities and technologies based on geographic information.”

More information: Alicia Gomez-3204821467 –aliciagomez@ambienteysociedad.org.co