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  • Writer's pictureSustainable Agriculture Network

SAN Awarded Grant to Advance Sustainable Landscapes in Colombia

The Sustainable Agriculture Network is thrilled to announce that it has been awarded a

Map of Colombia  indicating location of Apartadó, in the Antioquia department.
Map of Colombia

grant to collaborate with Swisscontact and SAN network member Fundación Natura on a groundbreaking project in Colombia. This project aims to integrate social accountability processes into the "Paisajes + Sostenibles" initiative using the latest iteration of the Blueprint landscape assessment tools.

This project is possible thanks to a grant from the ISEAL Innovations Fund, which is supported by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO.

SAN's work will not only involve applying these tools but also using participatory action research methods and democratization of data to construct a Common Territorial Agenda (CTA) with local stakeholders. The overarching goal is to promote deforestation-free and climate-friendly supply chains in Colombia's cocoa-dominated Apartadó Municipality within the Antioquia Department.

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Exploring the Project's Objectives

The primary objective of this project is to replicate and enhance the Blueprint tools to facilitate the collection and exchange of perspectives concerning the intricate relationship between land use, ecosystems, and human dimensions. The key deliverables of this initiative include:

  • GIS Mapping: The project will encompass comprehensive GIS mapping of the Apartadó Municipality, enabling a deeper understanding of spatial and climatic dynamics and climate change projections for the region.

  • Situational Report: Field observations, primary data, and secondary data will be synthesized into a situational report. This report will provide invaluable insights into the current state of the territory.

  • Actionable Strategies: The project will culminate in the development of actionable strategies aligned with the core objectives of "Paisajes + Sostenibles." These strategies will form the basis for a Common Territorial Agenda.

Aerial view of the Apartadó Municipality in Antioquia, Colombia.
Aerial view of the Apartadó Municipality. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Addressing Landscape Governance Challenges

The project's motivation stems from recognizing the complexity of landscape governance, where socio-cultural conditions intertwine with land use effects. SAN aims to create a paradigm shift by incorporating socio-cultural dimensions into local ecological knowledge and institutional processes to foster sustainable landscapes. The methodology revolves around the use of the Blueprint for Sustainable Landscapes, a comprehensive assessment tool that combines quantitative GIS mapping with qualitative information gathered from local stakeholders.

This approach will engage a diverse array of voices, including those of women, civil society, policy makers, and community leaders. By involving these stakeholders, SAN aims to democratize the creation of knowledge, ensuring that it reflects the perspectives and priorities of the entire community.

Benefits for Stakeholders

The project promises a host of benefits for various stakeholders:

  • Local Communities: Through community-based monitoring and assurance systems, local communities will actively participate in evaluating and improving sustainability practices in their territory, empowering them to shape their desired future.

  • Companies: Companies purchasing agricultural products from Apartadó will gain a clear understanding of sustainability issues pertinent to their interests, allowing them to communicate their sustainability efforts transparently to consumers.

  • Local Government: The Common Territorial Agenda will provide valuable knowledge, engagement, and resources to local governments, aiding them in addressing environmental challenges and supporting regenerative rural economies.

Project Activities

Over the course of nine months, the project will focus on five primary activities:

  • Stakeholder Engagement: Identifying and engaging with stakeholder groups to ensure inclusivity and equity in the landscape assessment process.

  • Outcome-based Indicators: Adapting the Blueprint questionnaire and introducing a field observation tool to capture outcome-based indicators.

  • GIS and Data Collection: Utilizing GIS mapping and collecting primary and secondary data to gain a comprehensive understanding of the territory.

  • Data Democratization: Conveying data analysis and insights to the community and facilitating multistakeholder forums to build actionable strategies.

  • Lessons Learned and Knowledge Products: Sharing project learnings and technical resources to promote sustainable agriculture practices and landscape governance models worldwide.

Intended Learnings

SAN aims to refine and scale the Blueprint/CTA process to new regions and agricultural production mixes through its global collaborative impact network. Key learnings will include:

  • Identifying success factors contributing to community-led development visions like the Common Territorial Agenda (CTA).

  • Applying project lessons to other regions and contexts, exploring opportunities for scaling successful community-led development models.

  • Analyzing the efficacy of various participatory action research methods and data capture techniques at the landscape level.

This grant award represents a significant step toward SAN's mission to foster sustainability and positive impacts in landscapes worldwide. Stay tuned for updates on this transformative project as we work toward building a more sustainable future in Colombia and beyond.

This project is possible thanks to a grant from the ISEAL Innovations Fund, which is supported by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs
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