Supporting dialogue process to declare a regional MPA in La Guajira, Colombia

GIZ and Corpoguajira
Published: 08 May 2020
Last edited: 08 May 2020
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Together with the regional environmental authority (Corpoguajira), the Ministry of the Interior and the Wayuu indigenous communities of La Guajira department, we have supported a dialogue process to declare a regional Marine Protected Area (MPA) following the Colombian Roadmap for MPAs. A pivotal step in this declaration is the prior consultation, where the vision and traditional knowledge of local communities is included. The future MPA of “Bahías Honda y Hondita” is located in the northeast of Colombia and is part of the indigenous reservation.

Within the dialogue process, we have enhanced agreements on the use and management of marine resources between the Wayuu and the authorities. Those agreements take into account the vision and cosmogony of the communities, which will be the basis for the management plan of the MPA. The MPA declaration is part of a broader strategy of integrated planning and management of coastal and marine areas developed by the MIMAC project.


South America
Scale of implementation
Coastal desert
Coastal forest
Coral reef
Desert ecosystems
Marine and coastal ecosystems
Ecosystem services
Indigenous people
Protected area governance
Traditional knowledge
Increasing temperatures
Land and Forest degradation
Unsustainable harvesting incl. Overfishing
Conflicting uses / cumulative impacts
Lack of access to long-term funding
Lack of alternative income opportunities
Lack of infrastructure
Lack of food security
Unemployment / poverty
Sustainable development goals
SDG 14 – Life below water
SDG 15 – Life on land
Aichi targets
Target 11: Protected areas
Target 14: Ecosystem services


Uribia, La Guajira Department, Colombia


This regional MPA will contribute to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and the adaptation to change climate. This dialogue process will enhance the conservation of around 48.000 hectares that shelter strategic ecosystems like mangroves, coral reefs and seagrass meadows. The Wayuu communities rely on those ecosystems for some of their activities such as fishery and tourism.


More than 250 members of the Wayuu communities have received training about their rights and duties in the consultation process before the dialogue started. Furthermore, around 500 people have participated in the consultation workshops. These include the identification and analysis of possible impacts of the MPA, and the formulation of management measures.


This dialogue process has enabled stakeholders and communities to exchange information regarding natural resources and their use. In this way, we have developed social cartography, seasonal calendars and other technical results in cooperation with the communities.


Corpoguajira has raised awareness about the formulation of the management plan in meetings with more than 25 communities. Moreover, we supported the establishment of agreements on the use of the natural resources in the MPA, such as respect for the cultural and ancestral use of mangroves by Wayuu communities or the promotion of sustainable fishing techniques.

Contributed by

Julian Castro-Gomez Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

Other contributors