This overview brief was jointly developed by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the Support Project for the Implementation of the Paris Agreement (a GIZ project, funded by the BMU). It highlights the Colombian efforts to use synergies and linkages between the planning for sustainable development, climate change adaptation and disaster risk management (DRM) and associated key challenges and opportunities.
Colombia’s vulnerability to impacts of climate change remains high. For instance, in 2010, the weather phenomenon La Niña flooded 8% of Colombia’s populated areas, affected 9% of the population and resulted in loss and damages of about USD 8 billion. In light of its vulnerability to impacts of climate change, the Colombian government recognised the need to align policy processes to foster climate-resilient development. Therefore, the government “is progressively establishing a framework of policies, plans and institutions to more effectively address” the SDGs, disaster risk management and climate change adaptation (Cruz & Ospina, 2019, p. 5).
After adopting the Agenda 2030, the Paris Agreement and the Sendai Framework, the Colombian government recognized synergies between the agendas and associated opportunities for alignment in its national-level policies. Therefore, the government set up specific policies to implement each agenda while also introducing cross-ministerial coordination mechanisms to align processes across different sectors and on different levels.
For instance, Colombia’s National Adaptation Plan (NAP) identifies DRM and climate change adaptation as “two sides of the same coin”, necessary for sustainable, climate-resilient, or in short “effective” development (Cruz & Ospina, 2019, p. 9). The National Plan for Disaster Risk Management contains a strategy to establish common policies between DRM, territorial planning and climate change adaptation measures. This strategy is also “calling for local environmental authorities to integrate adaptation into risk management interventions” (Cruz & Ospina, 2019, p.9).
Besides setting up a comprehensive framework of policies, strategic plans and institutions, Colombia is progressively introducing coordination mechanisms to address climate change adaptation, DRM and the SDGs as interlinked issues. By recognizing the linkages between the global agendas, the government can send a more “coherent message and pursue a more efficient allocation of resources and capacities” and ultimately, foster a more “in-depth, systematic alignment” (Cruz & Ospina, 2019, p. 8).
Furthermore, the complementary nature of climate change adaptation and DRM is reflected within the Colombian governance system through the following mechanism: “to ensure coordination with the ongoing disaster risk management efforts, a delegate from the National Unit for Disaster Risk Management attends as a permanent guest to the Cross-Sectoral Commission of Climate Change (which coordinates climate policy at the national level)” (Cruz & Ospina, 2019, p.3).
The National Planning Department (DNP) takes up a key position in the institutional arrangements of Colombia (see figure 1) as it partakes in the coordination of the NAP and NDC. While the Colombian government is already setting up coordination mechanisms between the various institutions responsible for coordinating and implementing the three global agendas national implementation, further efforts need to focus on cross-sectoral cooperation, flexible mechanisms for information sharing and capacity building (Cruz & Ospina, 2019, p. 2).
The National Development Plan 2018-2022 intends to align all institutions on the national and local level to achieve its objective and its results are set to be evaluated at the end of the four-year government period. In addition, Colombia’s NAP and NDC already recognize monitoring and evaluation as crucial for climate change adaptation processes. In fact, “alignment can help [to] ensure a more holistic and coordinated approach to tracking, learning from and reporting adaptation progress and impact across levels” (Cruz & Ospina, 2019, p. 10). Documenting knowledge, sharing information and extracting lessons learned from the alignment process in Colombia should be promoted and results should be circulated across all sectors, agendas, levels—and in the next step across borders to learn from another country’s best practices.
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The summary was derived from the overview brief titled “Alignment to Advance Climate-Resilient Development – Country Case Study: Colombia” (Cruz & Ospina, 2019). Please find the original brief here.
This overview brief is a product of the Support Project for the Implementation of the Paris Agreement (SPA), which is funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) under its International Climate Initiative (IKI) and is produced jointly by IISD and GIZ.