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Apiaries to support biodiversity and the production of ecological products in post conflict Colombia

Preserving a protected area and straightening economic development for excluded communities who prepare for peace after an armed conflict.

Photo of Juan Ayarza - GAIC
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Explain your idea

The project consists of the implementation of two apiaries and the strengthening of an existing one, by three rural communities of African descent in the Caribbean coast of Colombia living around a protected area, as well as the opening of a market opportunity for the products of their business. This initiative is headed by Parques Nacionales Naturales de Colombia (PNN), the public office in charge of managing national parks and coordinating the National System of Protected Areas (SINAP). It includes technical and business training activities, the incorporation of new technology for apiaries and a certification process, in order to maximize the reach and efficiency of the production, respecting sanitary and commercialization norms for consumable products in Colombia. It also envisages the creation of a “green” quality product to the market that would be sold through an existing network of eco shops, managed by the protected area authority and established throughout the country in different parks, airports and shopping malls. The income generated from the commercialization of these products will directly support the communities mentioned, in terms of the economic and environmental sustainability. The new apiaries will be based in the Afro-descent communities of San Antonio and Bocacerrada, and the existing one is in Labarcé, which will serve as a model for the new ones. These three communities are in strong connection with PNN and make part of the municipality of San Onofre, Sucre department, and are located in key impact areas of a national park, the Santuario de Flora y Fauna [Sanctuary of Flora and Fauna, SFF] El Corchal "El Mono Hernández". The initiative has the support from other public institutions, notably SENA and CORPOICA for technical support. The main goal is to combine the fragile environmental equilibrium of the protected area, its wetland ecosystem and its buffer zone, with the sustainable development of a rural community, in a context of extreme vulnerability because of the abandonment of the Colombian public sector and the Colombian armed conflict. The project has the following specific objectives: - Support the improvement in the quality of life of the inhabitants of the three communities. - Have positive impacts in the conservation of the ecosystems in the protected area and its surrounding areas, drawing attention to their precarious conditions, key needs and the inadequate state services being provided. - Implement a sustainable development pilot on a small and local scale, which can serve other communities surrounding protected areas. - Strengthen the relationship between PNN with communities surrounding the protected area, promoting governance in and between PNN and the communities. The initiative has already identified some risks and ways of mitigation, summarized in an attachment. It has an estimated time span of 24 months.

Who Benefits?

The initiative will support between 30 and 40 families per apiary from 3 towns in San Onofre municipality, which among its 67,000 inhabitants has registered 27,000 victims of the Colombian armed conflict. Although the scale of the conflict has decreased, people are still highly marginalized and impoverished. Basic services like potable water, sewage, waste management, electricity, roadways, health and education and security services are deficient or non-existent. They therefore depend solely on the exploitation of natural resources which are becoming scarce and degraded due to overexploitation. If implemented successfully, the communities will have a sustainable economic activity to meet their basic subsistence needs, supported by PNN and other actors. In parallel, technical measures such as the selection of the species of bees considered the best pollinisers in the area, will support climate change adaptation and prevention of degradation inside and around the national park.

How is your idea unique?

The project is innovative in that aims to demonstrate in Colombia that the conservation and protection of natural resources/ecosystems is not inhibiting for local development, but can actually be in harmony with development. Moreover, that there are dual benefits to conserving natural resources, as the ecosystems that are protected also provide services for surrounding communities for their protection, sustenance and stability. Also: - It proposes to include a “green” quality product to the market. This approach has still an incipient nature in Colombia. - It has already a market opportunity based on the support of PNN and its ecoshops network. - It makes part of a pilot case of integration of protected areas, regional and local authorities, community and ethnic leaders and associations, which is a pioneer in Colombia. Its results will be an input for local, regional and national public policy formulation and decision- taking, and it has a scaling-up potential in other pilot cases

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Research & Early Testing: I am exploring my idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it with real users.
  • Prototyping: I have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing my idea.

Tell us more about you

The frame of this project is a process of integration of Colombian protected areas into spatial planning and local development of the zones in which these areas are based. This process is headed by PNN, which develops this process in 8 of the 59 national parks as pilot cases, SFF El Corchal "El Mono Hernández" being one of them. These cases involve the coordination between planning offices of PNN and environmental, local, regional national, ethnic and community authorities around each area, as well as the joint development of economic activities that foster local development and reduce environmental pressure over the areas. In this context, the project will serve as a case study for public authorities to evaluate how development can occur in harmony with the natural environment and to measure the extent in which the interdependence of local towns with the natural environment is essential for their future and climate change adaptation. Key PNN Staff related to the project: - Gustavo Sánchez, Head of SFF El Corchal El Mono Hernández, is the Coordinator-General. - Gisela Paredes, Spatial Planning expert, is the Coordinator of the process of integration of protected areas into spatial planning and local development and leaded the writing process of this proposal. - The PNN team in SFF El Corchal El Mono Hernández, under the leadership of Gustavo Sánchez, is in direct relationship with the communities and will be the main responsible for monitoring the progress of the project. - Juan Ayarza, consultant of the Office of International Affairs and Cooperation (GAIC), is in charge of the application process of this proposal and the contact with OpenIDEO. Other actors: - The participation of the focused population is essential for this project. Among the inhabitants of the three municipalities, 70% are women and youth, specially women head of household, and most of them victims of the armed conflict. According to the National Center for Historical Memory, the most common ways of human rights violations in the most difficult stage of the conflict in San Onofre (1997 – 2005) were forced displacement, sexual abuse and control of social life. - The National Service for Learning (SENA) and the Colombian Corporation for Farming Research (CORPOICA) are technical partners for PNN in this initiative. The project also considers working jointly with the Secretaries of Agriculture in San Onofre and other larger urban centers, to articulate and aggregate this initiative with their policies and projects. - Apiculture has been identified as a key element for the future economy of San Onofre, by the Ministry of Labor. In parallel, PNN has contributed to develop, in a joint work with other public and community actors, the existing experience of apiculture in Labarcé. A local association is formed and, in 2016, 25 families received equipment and training, in the frame of a program funded by Prosperidad Social (public). See attachments for details.

Expertise in sector

  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • Other
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Attachments (3)

Risks and mitigation measures.docx

Brief of risks and mitigation measures of this initiative (English).

The project in local media.pdf

Piece of news about the existing pilot case in local media (Spanish).

ORMET - Economic profile of San Onofre - ES.pdf

Economic profile of San Onofre, by the Regional Observatories of Labor Market (ORMET), coordinated by the Ministry of Labor (Spanish).


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