(Bogota) Today, members of Rare’s leadership issued statements of support for Colombia’s offer to host the sixteenth UN Biodiversity conference (COP 16) in 2024. Colombian officials made the offer during the UNFCCC COP in Dubai following Turkey’s withdrawal as host because of the devastating earthquakes in February 2023. In response, Rare President Caleb McClennen and Rare Vice President of Colombia Monica Varela, who leads Rare’s Lands for Life program, issued the following statements:
Dr. Caleb McClennan, PhD, President of Rare: “We applaud Colombia for offering to hold next year’s UN biodiversity conference. As one of the most biodiverse countries on Earth, Colombia is the perfect setting to build on the momentum of the last UN biodiversity conference in Montreal, where nearly 200 countries agreed on an action plan for nature.
“Making good on the commitments made in Montreal requires the participation of local leaders and communities, whose food security and livelihoods depend on productive and resilient natural resources. If the UN agrees to hold the 2024 biodiversity conference in Colombia, I urge leaders to meet with and listen to local leaders, as well as smallholder fishers and farmers, who live and work on the frontlines of the biodiversity and climate crisis and have critical perspective on solutions that work for people and nature.”
Read Caleb’s dispatch from his 2023 visit to Colombia.
Monica Varela, VP Colombia: “If the world comes to Colombia for the next biodiversity COP, they will see a nation that is turning the page from years of conflict to a brighter future for people and nature. And they will meet people who understand the connection between the protection of nature and the health and prosperity of communities.
“As climate change threatens both biodiversity and the livelihoods of smallholder farmers around the world, regenerative agriculture must be a priority for people and nature. Rare would welcome the opportunity to showcase our progress in helping smallholder farmers in Colombia adopt regenerative practices. Through our people-centered, science-based approach, we have engaged over 1,000 farmers, trained 161 extension agents to expand our reach even further, and helped place over 5,000 hectares of farmland under sustainable management. The farmers we are partnering with in the Meta region are leading the charge—and leading the change—toward regenerative practices that protect biodiversity and restore landscapes to their natural functionality, while meeting the economic and food security needs of rural communities.”
Watch Monica Varela’s video Q&A in which she shares more about how Rare works with farmers in Colombia.