Knowledge exchange favors the design of IDH’s strategy in Colombia

Learning from practice and being able to design better action strategies. This is what motivated an exchange between IDH Brazil and Colombia teams, held in November.
IDH teams during visit to the municipalities in Colombia for action planning

Carolina Tenório, Senior Program Manager at IDH Colombia and Francisco León, IDH Colombia Program Officer, were in Brazil to fulfill an agenda that included meetings and field visits.

In Cuiabá-MT, they learned, in detail, the work carried out by the State Secretariat of the Environment (Sema-MT), which involves the processes of combating illegal deforestation and environmental regularization (through the Rural Environmental Register), including the new deforestation monitoring system in real time. Still in Cuiabá, the Colombian team gathered with the PCI Institute’s executive director, Fernando Sampaio, to collect information to be used in the design of a multi-stakeholder territorial approach strategy in progress in that country.

After that, they started a road trip accompanied by IDH’s team in Cuiabá, and visited the town of Sorriso, where they could check how the PCI landing in the field happens – in practice. In addition to meetings with members of the local PCI Compact, León and Tenório visited some productive properties to gather as much information as possible.

“For us it was a very precious moment, as we are starting similar work in Colombia. Undoubtedly, information on how the Compacts are being developed in Mato Grosso will help us design our strategy in Colombia, based on the lessons learned and the challenges overcome,” Carolina Tenório explained.

The proposal for action in Colombia was presented in October, at an event attended by the Deputy Minister of Agricultural Affairs, Colombian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Marcela Urueña, by IDH Brazil and Latin America Director Daniela Mariuzzo, and by several partners of AgroColombia Productiva y Sostenible, a public-private alliance supported by the National Government with the mission to identify, align and expand sustainable practices to foster agricultural development.

Our proposal is to work with a view to territorial development, increasing productivity while ensuring the agricultural sustainability of the Departments of Cesar, Magdalena and Huila.

To assist in the design of this territorial approach strategy, Guilherme Justo, IDH Brazil Program Manager, has also been to Colombia. The purpose of his visit between November and early December was visiting the locations to define the municipalities where the activities will be developed, in a similar model to that of Mato Grosso: Municipal compacts in the PPI (Production, Preservation and Inclusion) approach.

In Magdalena, the organization of the agenda was supported by the Swiss Embassy and the IDH team was accompanied by the National Federation of Palm Oil Producers (Fedepalma), as the product will initially be the flagship of the Production line, that may add other crops in the future.

In Cesar, five municipalities that are part of the mining axis were visited, with the strongest presence of coal mines. With the changes in public policies to replace coal as an energy matrix, this activity tends to decline. Then, it will be necessary to prepare these municipalities by offering alternatives that avoid a situation of economic chaos. In this department/state, this means working with coffee, cocoa and banana – among others crops that may arise. Now in Huila, the aptitude is for the work with cocoa.

“What was clear to us during these visits is that water use is a key topic that unites everyone in a common goal. So we also need to think about means to improve the management and access to this natural resource in all territories”, Justo added.

As part of the travel agenda scheduled, Justo was also welcomed by some newly elected mayors, who will take office in January 2020, to present the proposed action.

The next steps to be taken will be to hold meetings with key actors and teams from the city halls to make a more precise design of the activities to be developed.