The Governor of the State of Huila (Colombia), Luis Enrique Dussan, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 27 May 2020 with Program Director for Global Landscapes at IDH – the Sustainable Trade Initiative, Daan Wensing, at an online ceremony to formalize their commitment to implement a territorial development strategy based on the principles of production, protection and inclusion (PPI).
Illustration: Laura Sorvala
The partnership plans to work together towards integrating public policies, boosting sustainable production, conserving native vegetation, restoring areas of environmental degeneration and including family farming and traditional communities in the region’s social and economic development, for example in the cocoa and fruit sectors.
“We believe that building a green growth plan in Huila is also important in order to bring resources to the region. We look forward to working with the Huila government, the private sector and other partners to make this happen. Huila can be a national example in Colombia of implementing a sustainable landscape strategy as Mato Grosso is for Brazil”, said Daan Wensing during the event.
For the State of Huila, this project is essential, for it seeks to address development in a sustainable, long-term manner and with the inclusion of vulnerable sectors, in line with the local Government Plan.
“We are aligned with IDH’s PPI strategy, and we want to generate wealth and economic development, but in an environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive way. In this sense, we look forward to working with the IDH, to receiving all this knowledge, this orientation, these experiences that have developed in many regions of the world ”, added Luis Enrique Dussan.
Luis Enrique Dussan, Governor of Huila
The initiative is bolstered by key supporters such as the Luker Chocolate company, a leader in the Colombian cocoa market, which is already developing a project in Huila called Efecto Cacao. In April 2020, the IDH and Luker signed a Memorandum of Understanding that provides for collaboration in the process of building Huila’s PPI.
“We are very happy to see how these projects that started in previous years are taking shape. We believe in the power of agriculture in order to develop this country and, undoubtedly, Huila represents one of those potentials. These initiatives always make us happy, but this is very special because it coincides with the Luker Chocolate philosophy, which is a development vision with a triple impact: economic, social and environmental”, added Camilo Romero, general director of Luker Chocolate.
The proposal for a sustainable landscape development strategy for Colombia was presented by IDH to the members of the Board of AgroColombia Productiva y Sostenible on 22 October 2019.
Since then, several meetings have been held with key players for the construction of the PPI strategy in the departments of Cesar, Huila and Magdalena.
IDH expects to leverage around €1 million in co-financing for these locations.
“The landscape approach has been shown to be effective in building long-term multisectoral commitments, with an initial focus on building transparent and long-lasting governance structures. That is why the signing of this cooperation agreement with the state of Huila is essential, as it demonstrates the commitment of the local government to the sustainable development of the region”, emphasizes Daniela Mariuzzo, IDH’s Executive Director in Brazil and of the IDH Sustainable Landscape Program in Latin America.
The territorial development model is similar to that of the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso, which is also supported by IDH, and whereby coalitions of companies, NGOs, governments, unions, farmers, local associations, financial institutions and universities work together to accelerate sustainability in value chains.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the partners chose to hold an online event, which can be watched here, thus following the recommendations of the World Health Organization to guarantee everyone’s safety and well-being.