Departments of Choco and Antioquia, Colombia
92 million tons
COCOMACIA Community REDD+ Program, Choco/Antioquia Colombia
About the Project
The COCOMACIA Community REDD+ Program aims to address the drivers, agents and underlying causes of deforestation and forest degradation, taking place in the Atrato River Basin of Colombia. The program area encompasses 695,245 hectares in the collective territory of the Greater Community Council of the Integral Peasant Association of the Atrato River, better known as COCOMACIA. This area is legally recognized territory of Afro-descended communities, collectively referred to as Black Communities, giving them the rights to the natural resources of the territory. The program area plays a crucial economic role for the local communities, who cultivate rice and sugarcane. In addition to agricultural expansion, the area has also been subject to illegal logging by timber companies and small-scale mining operations, reducing forest cover and threatening the biodiversity of the region.
Terra Global has partnered with the council of COCOMACIA, in order to provide financial and technical support for conservation activities though a gender-sensitive approach to livelihood improvements. The REDD+ Program is an Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) project, falling under the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) project category. The primary goal of the program is to transform livelihoods, especially of women, in some of the poorest communities in Colombia though climate finance. This will be achieved by forest conservation through sustainable territory management, implementing sustainable agricultural practices and sustainably managing natural resources to capture long term economic benefits. With the combination of these activities the REDD+ Program expects to produce 92 million tons of carbon emission reductions and removals over the 30-year crediting period, though direct inclusion and empowerment of women that improve livelihoods of local communities.
In 1991, the Colombian Constitution recognized the ancestral presence and possession of lands by Black Communities, granting them the right to self-administration, including the rights to the natural resources of their territories. The communities living in these territories primarily depend on smallholder farming to generate income and have extremely limited access to markets. Unsustainable farming practices, low production, poor processing, and limited access to outside markets, keeps communities in poverty forcing agricultural expansion, which results in further deforestation. For this reason, the COCOMACIA Community REDD+ Program is committed to increasing agricultural production in a sustainable manner. Strengthening rural incomes through sustainably scaling-up agricultural production will be an effective measure for reducing instances of poverty and for reliving pressures driving deforestation. Revenue from the sale of carbon credits will also be directed toward improving sustainable development initiatives, focusing on the need of rural women, and other livelihood improvements.
The inclusion of women in community governance structures and income generating activities is a central objective of the community benefits this REDD+ Program expects to deliver. Women play a major role in the agricultural market, both as producers and consumers, especially in supplying high-value produce, yet women are disadvantaged in market access and new agricultural technologies. Working towards social and local understanding of gender equity is expected to enhance the community, as increasing women’s roles in governance results in improvements in land reform and holistic long-term planning.
The Atrato River Basin is home to a diverse range of ecosystems, consisting of mountainous terrain, forests, chuscales, swamps and rivers. The land in the program area is part of the Chocó-Darien Bioregion, one of the most biodiverse regions of the world. The area is home to between 8,000 and 10,000 species of vascular plants, roughly 20% of which are endemic to the region. In addition, this area hosts at least 127 species of amphibians, 97 species of reptiles, 577 species of birds, and a number of mammals that are considered to be either endangered or vulnerable by the IUCN Red List.
As forest cover continues to decline as a result of land use change, available habitat of this area is being lost at an alarming rate, threatening the biodiversity of this region. Through the implementation of sustainable agricultural production, land-use planning, community-based natural resource management and facilitating sustainable economic development, this REDD+ Program aims protect the local ecosystems and preserve the biodiversity of the program area.
The COCOMACIA Community REDD+ Program will mitigate emissions from deforestation and other land-use changes in the Atrato River Basin region of Colombia. The combination of a growing population and unsustainable natural resource extraction has caused a significant decline in forest cover, which translates to increased carbon emissions from land use change. The partners COCOMACIA and Terra Global will implement an assortment of climate-smart conservation-based activities that will help reduce the impacts of climate change. The REDD+ Program expects to produce an average of 3 million tons of carbon emission reductions each year that the program is active. As communities in the REDD+ Program are fully dependent on the Atrato River, this program protects native forests which mitigates the impacts of extreme weather events such as flooding that cause devastation to the communities.
Another primary objective of the REDD+ Program is to help local communities adapt to new, more sustainable practices that generate economic returns while preserving natural resources. Many of the locals in the program area conduct practices that degrade the forests and natural resources, in the pursuit of short-term economic benefits. The COCOMACIA Community REDD+ Program aims to implement sustainable agriculture practices that are adapted to new climate conditions and varying weather patterns. All new agriculture processing infrastructure and community development projects will be high above the Atrato River water line, preparing communities for floods and extreme weather events. These activities will improve the livelihoods of community members in a climate-friendly approach, while maintaining natural resources to capture long term economic gains.