• PiA

Colombia Translates Climate Targets into Sustainable Development Actions


Tackling climate change and environmental degradation is at the heart of Colombia’s aspirations for a more equal society and a stronger, resilient economy. While extreme weather events and insufficient action could bring about an annual 0.5 percent reduction of GDP, strong infrastructure adaptation measures could reduce climate-related disasters rate by up to 60 percent in the years to come. Similarly, abating greenhouse gas emissions and their pollutant precursors in urban areas could reduce health care costs and income loss by up to USD4.1 billion. And protecting biodiversity would secure the source of invaluable goods and services originating from the country’s natural richness.


Under its National Development Plan for 2019-2022, Colombia committed to harnessing the development benefits of strong climate action through a comprehensive set of quantifiable targets aligned with its NDC. With NDC Partnership member support, concise solutions to deliver on this commitment are shaping up. Policies and targets are being translated into an actionable sustainable development program aligning with Colombia’s pledges.


With more than 60 percent of Colombia’s GHG emissions originating in the forest and land use sector, deaccelerating deforestation leads government priorities to deliver on the NDC and improve rural livelihoods. A combination of results-based REDD+ programs, technical assistance, and deploying capacity development to local communities was fundamental to curbing accelerated deforestation in recent years. Colombia registered a 19 percent decrease in annual deforestation between 2018 and 2019.


The country is also promoting energy efficiency and increasing the share of nonconventional renewable energy sources in its electricity matrix. In October 2019, more than 2200 MW of generating capacity were allocated to clean energy projects, with expected investments of more than USD2 billion. Incentives for companies to move towards more efficient technologies are being tested through local financial institutions, and policy improvements are underway to remove barriers and unlock additional financial resources for broader deployment and adoption.


With a similar vision for the transport sector, the Government launched a National Strategy on E-mobility in 2019 and is working on policy instruments to green the country’s truck fleet. Partners worked closely with the national Government to support these efforts and with local city governments to promote alternative and sustainable urban transport modalities. So far, eight cities are implementing strategies to enhance and green public transport.


To foster local climate action, partner and non-partner contributions advance Colombia’s Low Carbon Development Strategy through a funding mechanism implementing local emissions reduction projects. These partner and non-partner institutions supporting the Government are moving forward with adaptation projects in key ecosystems, such as the La Mojana region.


Colombia’s efforts to address climate change while fostering more sustainable settlements have begun to materialize with Partnership member support through, among others, more than USD200 million in technical assistance, grants, and blended finance to catalyze private sector investment in sustainable infrastructure, and through pilot programs on waste management and circular economy in the country’s urban centers.


Besides investment-ready projects, acting with speed and scale requires innovative instruments and financial resources to incentivize action by state and non-state actors. Following its carbon tax implementation, Colombia expects to enhance domestic climate finance with support through ongoing improvements in its green tagging efforts; a bill on sustainable growth which includes fiscal mechanisms incentivizing cleaner production and consumption; issuing a sovereign green bond; and bold fiscal and sectoral policy instruments addressing economic hurdles stemming from COVID-19 and the country’s commitment to sustainable development.


With its 2020 update, Colombia aims to capture these efforts in its enhanced NDC. Through the NDC Partnership’s CAEP, more than USD1.5 million has been mobilized to strengthen national coordination mechanisms, engage the private sector in NDC implementation through voluntary agreements, and improve sectoral data and information, reducing uncertainties between proposed climate actions and pledged ambition. Though many challenges lie ahead, Colombia is making tangible progress in transforming its intentions into results.


Members supporting Colombia: Australia; Canada; Denmark; the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF); the EU; the FAO; France; GEF; Germany (through GIZ); GGGI; ICLEI; IDB; IISD; the Netherlands; Norway; NREL; Rare; Spain; Sweden; The Nature Conservancy; UNDP; UNEP; UNIDO; the UK; the USA; the World Bank; WHO; WMO; WRI; and WWF.


This is a PiA 2020 story: Browse the multimedia version or PDF version.