Gaia Amazonas inspires climate change action and the world’s largest ecological corridor

Colombia’s government announced that it will draw up plans to join with Brazil and Venezuela in creating the world’s largest ecological corridor, a project aimed at mitigating the effects of climate change and preserving biodiversity.

The corridor will span 135 million hectares (521,240 sq. miles) of rainforest. The move was announced by President Juan Manuel Santos after a Cabinet meeting in Leticia, capital of Colombia’s province of Amazonas, on Friday. He said, putting the brake on climate change was in Colombia’s interest, because of the dangers it poses for the country’s rich biodiversity.

“This would become the world’s largest ecological (corridor) and would be a great contribution to that fight of all humanity to preserve our environment, and in Colombia’s case to preserve our biodiversity,” announced the President. He added that Colombia will “establish all the mechanisms of communication with Brazil and Venezuela” so they can jointly present a “concrete, realistic proposal that conveys to the world the enormous contribution the corridor would make to preserving humanity and mitigating climate change.” It is envisioned that 62 percent would run through Brazilian territory, 34 percent through Colombia and four percent through Venezuela. The Colombian head of state said he expects the three countries will present the so-called “Triple A” (Andes-Amazon-Atlantic) initiative at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP21, late this year in Paris.

The ambitious plan is credited to Martín von Hildebrand, founder of Gaia Amazonas and Gaia Associate, and builds on the vision of the COAMA programme (launched by Gaia Foundation and a network of Colombian NGOs in the late-1980s, and awarded the Right Livelihood Award) for protecting the Amazon rainforest and empowering the region’s indigenous communities. Martín has led both government and non-government sector efforts, which have resulted in more than 25 million hectares of the Colombian Amazon being officially handed back to the indigenous inhabitants – under the legal figure of “resguardos” – and the expansion of Chiribiquete National Park, making it one of the largest national parks in the world.