IICA Workshops Promote Balance Between Mining, Agriculture and Environment
7 July 2012: The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) held a workshop on defining a territory-based sustainable development policy framework for Colombia, which would strike a balance between agriculture, mining and environmental protection. Participants generally agreed on the need for a land management and production instrument to build synergies between agriculture and mining, while incorporating technological innovations into traditional and ancestral practices of sustainable production.
The meeting, held on 27 June 2012, in Bogotá, Colombia, was attended by officials from the Colombian Agriculture and Environment Ministries, agricultural officials from the Antioquia, Caldas and Chocó departments, the Avina Foundation and the Friends of Chocó Foundation (Amichoco), as well as representatives of Peru's Agriculture Ministry and Institute for National Agricultural Development (IPDAN).
Participants discussed the possible applications of Colombia's new rural development law and new Mining Code, and a national working group on mining, agriculture and the environment. They agreed that Colombia's mining areas currently have weak institutions, as well as land conflicts, resource depletion, illegal extraction, pollution and violence. They highlighted the cases of Caldas and Chocó, where mining has not improved the living conditions and resources are depleted, and Bajo Cauca, where mining dominates but incipient agriculture exists, with potential for reforestation and food security projects.
The Bogotá workshop follows a similar IICA workshop held for Peru, in Lima, in April 2011. A third workshop will is scheduled for September 2012, in Canada, at which Canadian officials and experts will share how their country has addressed such issues.
The workshops are part of an 18-month IICA project titled "Tools for developing synergies between agriculture and mining in rural areas of countries in the Andean Region," which is financed with a grant fund from IICA's Fund for Technical Cooperation (FonCT). In addition to holding workshops, the project collects case studies and inventories relevant laws, regulations and norms, as well as mining royalties and mining company social responsibility programmes. [IICA Press Release (in Spanish)] [Project Website (in Spanish)]