Project Factsheet
Tools for » Integration of EcoSystems and Adaptation to Climate Change
Project ID:00067172Description:MDGF-1759-E-COL Env Climate
MDG Achievement Fund
Start Date *: 2 Oct 2007
MDGF Environ Climate Chg
End Date*: 17 Jul 2011
Country: Colombia Project Status: Financially Closed
  Participating Organization:   Multiple


The Joint Program (JP) entitled “Integration of Ecosystems and Adaptation to Climate Change in the Colombian Massif” seeks to fill strategically important gaps in environmental policies and actions in Colombia. The reasoning behind the program is concern regarding the achievement of the MDGs and, more specifically, the lack of environmental actions and policies related to climate change. If adequate solutions are not found within a very short period of time there will be a further increase in the already alarming level of environmental deterioration and poverty in the so-called ‘strategic eco-regions’ and the country as a whole due to the loss of environmental goods and services.

The program proposes to act in three areas, each of which is based on a result it hopes to achieve:

  • Formulation of policies 

Assistance, through advisory and technical reinforcement activities, in drawing up specific policies related to climate change and their inclusion in poverty reduction strategies and the National Water Policy. The program gives priority to policies related to adapting to climate change.

  • Strengthening of institutions and social organizations

Technical and organizational backing for entities and social organizations committed to drawing up, coordinating and implementing strategies and policies for the overall management of ecosystems and water resources and adapting to climate change.

  • Strengthening the technical and organizational capacities of local players for the joint implementation of adaptation policies

This involves carrying out pilot projects in the upper basin of the Cauca River in the Colombian Massif (Puracé and Popayán municipalities) that include measures for assessing vulnerability and, depending on the results, implementing specific actions for adapting agricultural production systems, protection of the ecosystem and measures to prevent risk or contingency plans. It is hoped that this practical experience will yield important results that will, on the one hand, enrich policies for adapting to climate change and, on the other, validate specific technologies and methodologies for coordinating activities between social players and entities when drawing up and implementing wide-ranging and comprehensive Plans for the Regulation and Management of River Basins (POMCH).

The JP proposes to incorporate the potential and strengths of the United Nations System into a coordinated inter-agency effort in conjunction with the relevant governmental entities and farmer and indigenous peoples’ organizations. 

The JP has its origins in the country analysis performed by the United Nations System and the priorities set out by the Government in its National Development Plan 2006-2010, as well as various regional planning exercises and current projects in the area such as the process for updating Territorial Regulation Plans and the prioritizing of local players. It also benefits from the experience of the United Nations System agencies involved, which have experience in the selected region and possess specific capacities for achieving the required results, as well as the interest of AECI-Colombia [Spanish Agency for International Cooperation] in the region. The participating agencies (UNDP, UNICEF, FAO and WHO/PAHO) will interact with governmental partners, mainly the Colombian Institute for Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies (IDEAM, which will be responsible for assisting in crafting the climate change policy and the policy for the comprehensive management of water resources), the Ministry for the Environment, Housing and Territorial Development (MAVDT) and the National Planning Department (DNP), under the unified coordination of the JP.


Outcome 1:

The environmental approach has been integrated in policies, strategies, and national planning instruments to facilitate the achievement of the MDGs, which incorporates appropriate gender specific and relevant ethnic-cultural aspects.

Outcome achievements:

  • the adaptation to climate change component has been included in the Policy of Integrated Management of Water Resources led by the Ministry of Environment and approved in March 2009;
  • the integration of climate change and health has been included in the Comprehensive Environmental Health Policy;
  • the second national communication to the UNFCCC climate change, prepared by the IDEAM and published in June 2010, has included contributions and program approaches related to vulnerability and resilience, as well as education and participation, this will form the basis for the formulation of national climate change policy;
  • the MDG baseline for the department of Cauca has been published and distributed in 2010 under the title "The MDGs and the challenges of climate change in the department of Cauca" including an intercultural analysis on MDGs from the perspective of Cauca's indigenous peoples.


Outcome 2:

The technical and organizational capacity for the integrated management of ecosystems has been improved in the strategic eco-region of the Colombian Massif allowing the sustainable use of natural resources.

Outcome achievements:

  • a participatory methodology for the analysis of current vulnerability to climate change at local level, replicable in high mountain ecosystems and ethnic territories has been designed and implemented;
  • adaptation training methodologies have been designed and validated and 100 field workers have been trained in the conservation, production, risk management and environment sectors;
  • The water and weather monitoring infrastructure has been complemented by the installation of 2 hydro meteorological stations in the upper basin of the Cauca River as part of the national meteorological network;
  • a methodological guide to incorporate risk management in the Zoning and to analyze the future vulnerability with emphasis on water resources has been developed;
  • the city council and the mayor of Puracé have adopted, with a focus on adaptation to climate change, the Sovereignty Policy of Food Safety and Nutrition and its operational plan, as well as the risk management plan of the municipality.


Outcome 3:

Adaptation measures to climate change are implemented by local institutions and communities in the strategic eco-region of the Colombian Massif, with an ethnic and gender approach, to facilitate the achievement of the MDGs and to serve as reference for national and regional policies.

Outcome achievements:

Five adaptation measures have been developed with the following community benefits:

  • Adaptive territorial management planning, whereby the people of Kokonuco have adhered to the pact of coexistence with nature, 120 sites with approximately 200 Hs have been established and silvo-pastoral systems created and / or strengthened;
  • Food Safe in a Changing Climate, such that 6 schools were established with 800 field plots and plots with planning schemes, with a climate change adaptation approach, with organic farming practices and crop improvement, fodder banks, plywood barriers and silvo-pastoral systems;
  • Safe water, wherein 10 water supply systems and 7 water purification systems were established benefiting 8850 families.  Six educational institutions were articulated and are currently developing their environmental education projects focusing on water issues and sustainable production processes linking to 2500 students;
  • Safe water in a healthy territory, whereby a water quality analysis for the municipalities of Popayan and Puracé has been conducted with emphasis in the pilot area of the Joint Programme and the guidelines for Intersectoral Action Plans for Healthy Environments have been developed jointly with the community and local authorities;
  • Spatial planning for risk reduction and building a safe territory, such that an early warning system for landslides, fires and flash floods risks has been established, strengthening and equipping the CLOPAD and indigenous councils (5) with emergency response teams and improving the response capacity. 5 bioengineering low cost and high reproducibility works to control landslides have been completed.


Lessons learned:

  • UN Agency coordination in Joint Programme design is essential to success.


More details can be found in the final project report:

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If you have questions about this programme you may wish to contact the RC office in Colombia or the lead agency for the programme.

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