Participants held an in-depth discussion about the challenges to achieving truly sustainable development in Orinoquia.

The Sustainable Orinoco Pact sponsored a one-day Initiatives Fair just outside of the region’s major city Villavicencio yesterday.  The event brought together 51 organizations and 86 individuals to discuss ongoing projects around sustainable development in Colombia’s Orinoquia region.

The Pact initiative seeks to reconcile development and conservation interests in what many consider as the last substantial agricultural development frontier in Colombia. The effort unites Colombia’s environmental and agricultural ministries and the national park service with the Nature Conservancy, the InterAmerican Development Bank, Ecopetrol, the Wildlife Conservation Society and many others.

The Initiatives Fair consisted of three panel discussions around best bets for sustainable development, obstacles and barriers implementing sustainable development initiatives and future prospects going forward. Professionals working in sustainable development in the Orinoquia made 83 poster presentations, giving participants a chance to follow up with presenters in an open networking format.

Topics discussed included sustainable livestock, specialty agriculture and non-timber forest products, sustainable fisheries, useful native tree species, development focused on eco-tourism and biodiversity conservation, among many others.

The Science and Nature for People Partnership (SNAPP) program’s group on sustainable land use change in the Orinoco region shared research on land use change, soil carbon and water resources modeling. The SNAPP group works with partners throughout the region to support sustainable development and improved land use planning through evidence-based analysis of land use change impacts on ecosystem services. The group will host a future meeting with many of the same partners to discuss how we can turn our research and development work into useful information for decision-making.

Tomas Walschburger of the Nature Conservancy shares their SNAPP-funded hydrological modeling work on the upper Orinoco watershed.

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