Beyond protected areas: recognition of OECMs in Colombia

Laura Peña / Playa Rica community
Publié: 30 août 2021
Dernière modification: 08 octobre 2021
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Colombia has implemented diverse conservation strategies. Some of these strategies have a legal basis, while others may be brought together as de facto conservation areas.


In this context, four workshops were held within Colombian regions, and 27 cases were evaluated as 'potential OECMs' (June 1019 to August 2021). The implementing team developed a questionnaire to gather the required and essential information of each case and assessed if they comply with the OECM definition and the four main criteria. Subsequently, 8 of the 27 cases were selected for further work (strengthening plans) to enhance the elements they need to meet the OECM definition and criteria.


Furthermore, a national procedure was co-designed and approved by the Ministry of Environment to enable the reporting of OECMs to the World Database on OECMs. 


Amérique du Sud
Ampleur de la mise en œuvre
Forêt côtière
Forêt de conifères tropicaux
Forêt de feuillus tropicaux
La mer ouverte
Rivière, ruisseau
Zones humide (marécage, marais, tourbière)
Écosystèmes d'eau douce
Écosystèmes forestiers
Écosystèmes marins et côtiers
Accès et partage des avantages
Acteurs locaux
Adaptation au changement climatique
Connaissances traditionnelles
Connectivité / conservation transfrontières
Fragmentation et la dégradtion de l'habitat
Gestion des espaces côtiers et marins
Gestion des terres
Gestion et Planification des Aires protégées et conservées
Gouvernance des Aires protégées et conservées
L'intégration de la biodiversité
Moyens d'existence durables
Sensibilisation et communications
Services écosystèmiques
Sécurité alimentaire
Dégradation des terres et des forêts
Perte de biodiversité
Utilisations conflictuelles / impacts cumulatifs
Perte de l'écosystème
Récolte non durable, y compris la surpêche
Manque d'accès au financement à long terme
Manque d'autres possibilités de revenu
Changements dans le contexte socio-culturel
Manque de capacités techniques
Manque de sensibilisation du public et des décideurs
Mauvaise surveillance et application de la loi
Mauvaise gouvernance et participation
Conflit social et troubles civils
Objectifs de développement durable
ODD 14 - Vie aquatique
ODD 15 - Vie terrestre
ODD 17 - Partenariats pour la réalisation des objectifs
Objectifs d’Aichi
Objectif 1: Sensibilisation accrue de la biodiversité
Objectif 2: Valeurs de la biodiversité intégrées
Objectif 11: Aires protégées et conservées
Objectif 14: Services des écosystèmes
Objectif 15: Restauration et la résilience des écosystèmes
Objectif 17: Stratégies de la biodiversité et des plans d'action
Approches pour l’engagement des entreprises
Engagement direct avec des associations


Colombia | Pacific coast, Amazon, Caribbean, Andean region


The main challenges are that OECM will need to be acknowledged and included as part of planning or policy, and that the National procedure to report Colombian OECMs to WCMC works adequately.


8 community organizations and local governments in several Colombian regions that have set aside areas of their territories. 120 people have acquired capacity to apply OECM criteria and conduct the OECM national verification. 

Comment les blocs constitutifs interagissent-ils entre eux dans la solution?

The two building blocks interact completly. In order to report to WCMC database, it is necesary to identify the potencial OECM area, to apply the criteria. We adapted a participative methodology that defined a series of questions for each criterion and its components according to the Colombian context, that make possible to analyze the consistency of the area with the OECM criteria. According to this verificatión, it is possible to report to WCMC.


The implementation of the OECM definition and criteria through the project is a practical exercise that has led, in each case, to a reflective analysis about the area’s management by the local stakeholders, in this case conducted at the regional workshops. As it was carried out on a case-by-case basis, in-depth analysis of issues and sharing of experiences with other participants with similar challenges has been shown to enrich their vision and perspectives and to generate even more ownership of their areas.


At national and regional levels, OECMs are included in the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and Colombia has developed a Climate Adaptation National Plan. This project has enabled engagement with and capacity development about OECMs of regional environmental authorities, the Ministry of Environment and other governmental and non-governmental conservation and climate change stakeholders. 


As Colombia is one of the first Latin American countries to implement the OECM criteria, we now have the capacity and opportunity to share experiences with other countries with similar socioeconomic contexts and contribute to the global discussions that is enriching in situ conservation perspectives.


Marcela Santamaría / Resnatur

Beneficiary 1. Association of United Women of San Isidro (Amusi)


Since 2014, the Association of United Women of San Isidro (Amusi) protects and manages the six properties that constitute the Salto Topacio conservation-production area, which has 30 ha of dry forest and important water sources. The area is immersed in a matrix of agroforestry crops (76 ha). Through the cultivation of yams, the association seeks to vindicate the rights of women to work, so that they can make their own decisions, in a context of violence and displacement accentuated at the beginning of this century. The validation of the criteria clearly showed the issues that require strengthening. In this case, the protection of the water resource is urgent, since it is essential for the well-being of the San Isidro community. The prioritized actions were directed towards good practices in the management of water and ecosystems, and the strengthening of governance for a more participatory and inclusive management.


Beneficiary 2. the Andakí Municipal Natural Park


The Andakí Municipal Park (MNP) is in the municipality of Belén de los Andaquíes in the Colombian Amazon region, which has been conserving strategic areas for over 20 years in order to maintain their biodiversity. This conservation process actively involves local actors and has included the creation of nine municipal natural parks, including the Andakí MNP. The Andakí MNP covers an area of 26.7 km2 and was recognised by the local government based on its biodiversity, its ecosystem services and its important contributions to municipal development, as well as its role in maintaining sites of historical and cultural significance.


Andakí MNP was considered as a potential OECM because in Colombia local governments are not able to declare or manage protected areas. However, more than 140 local governments carry out ecological heritage and conservation actions to guarantee the supply of ecosystem services as part of their territories’ sustainable development, and one type of local government action has been the creation and management of municipal conservation areas. Although these areas are not recognised in the National System of Protected Areas of Colombia, they have a strong social function and in some cases are incorporated into land-use planning processes. 

Contribué par

Portrait de msantamaria_40250

Marcela Santamaria Gómez Colombian Network of Civil Society Nature Reserves, Fundación Natura Colombia, Instituto Alexander Von Humboldt, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability , UICN Sur