Press and News Open for investment: Novel nature for peace project in Colombia

A project promoting biodiversity conservation, climate mitigation and peacebuilding in Colombia which the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT has supported in structuring is now eligible for funding under one of the government’s tax credit programs targeting conflict-affected areas.

This development comes ahead of the 16th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (COP16), which Colombia is hosting in October 2024.

The project includes a payment for ecosystem services scheme that would benefit ASPROABELEN, a cacao producers’ association in the Colombian department of Caqueta. The Alliance has been working with the association since 2019 as part of its work under the recently concluded Sustainable Land Use Systems Project funded by Germany’s International Climate Initiative, as well as the CGIAR Initiative on Low Emission Food Systems (Mitigate+) and AgriLAC Resiliente.

“Registering this project opens the door to mobilize peacebuilding funding for biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation,” said Dr. Augusto Castro-Nunez, a Senior Scientist at the Alliance. Castro-Nunez leads the team at the Alliance that was directly involved in structuring the project and having it lodged in the registry of projects that are eligible to be supported by obras por impuestos.

Moreover, the team was instrumental in having the policy on the tax credit program adjusted to enable funding toward green businesses or enterprises certified by the Colombian government to be providing goods or services that generate positive environmental impacts.

Under the Colombian government’s guidelines on 'obras por impuestos' (its tax credit program), companies that have earned an annual gross income equal to or greater than 33,610 UVT - which equates to approximately $406,000 USD - can opt to invest up to half of the attached income and complementary taxes in projects in Colombian territories affected by conflict, poverty, illicit economy and institutional challenges, that is, those covered by the ZOMAC or PDET programs or both.

“What is needed now is for eligible companies that pay taxes in Colombia to signify their interest to invest in the project,” says Carlos Borda, the Alliance senior research associate who has been working closely with ASPROABELEN and the Colombian environment ministry to register the project in the obras por impuestos project bank.

Borda is spearheading efforts to get the project — titled “Implementación del programa de pagos por servicios ambientales de conservación de la Biodiversidad en el Distrito de Conservación de Suelos y Aguas del Caquetá, municipio de Belén de los Andaquies, Caquetá” — invested in.

The goal is to secure a commitment from an eligible company to invest in the project - valued at approximately $1.8 million USD by the end of March 2024.

The project is the first lodged in the obras por impuestos registry that promotes sustainable agricultural production to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and enhance biodiversity while aiming to improve livelihoods by increasing the profitability of the producers involved in the project and supporting the peace process in Colombia.

“Addressing deforestation and conflict is a major challenge in Colombia,” says Borda. “We need to take action to solve these issues, and investing in projects such as this is one way to do that.”

Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT Senior Research Associate Carlos Borda presents details of the project now registered in the obras por impuestos project bank of the Colombian government / Victor Calderon / Alliance of Bioversity-CIAT

Companies interested in investing in the project can visit, click the link when hovering over the QR code above or contact Carlos Borda via [email protected].

Banner photo credit: Inside a cocoa agroforest overseen by a farmer that the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT collaborated with under the recently concluded pioneering Sustainable Land Use Systems Project in Colombia, which Germany’s International Climate Initiative / Ma. Eliza J. Villarino / Alliance of Bioversity-CIAT