Weakening environmental protection in Colombia

Angélica Beltrán, Karla Díaz and David Cruz, researchers from Asociación Ambiente y Sociedad of Colombia argue that “extractive industries and atmospheric pollution in the cities are a major source of socio-environmental conflicts”. The report states: “Environmental protection shows a progressive weakening…. Due to the lack of updated environmental information and the simplification of procedures in the granting of permits and licenses, the affected communities find it increasingly difficult to monitor the threats over their land and livelihoods.” Further, environmental control institutions do not have the capacity to oversee extractive activities adequately, which has allowed serious ecocides such as the outcropping of crude oil in the Lizama Block and the violation of environmental rules by Emerald Energy in the Ombu Block, located in the Amazon region.

In fact, the regulatory framework favours extractive activities through measures such as the creation of areas of rapid mining concessions, the opening of oil blocks around national Natural Parks, and territorial gerrymandering in order to allow activities that violate international agreements for the protection and conservation of the Amazon. The increase in the rate of deforestation, the rise in the number of oil exploration and extraction permits and delays in the implementation of deforestation control strategies have led the Colombian government to postpone the goal of zero net deforestation in the Amazon, initially set for 2020 and now extended until 2030.

Source: Colombia National Report 2018 (in Spanish).