Preserving, Restoring and Managing Colombian Biodiversity Through Responsible Innovation

Lead Research Organisation: University of East Anglia
Department Name: Biological Sciences

Abstract

The proposal targets the country of Colombia, at a very important time in history following the peace agreement between the government and the FARC. Colombia is one of the 17 countries considered as "megadiverse" by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Colombia's biodiversity is not only important for the country's natural heritage and the preservation of unique species in the world, it is also essential for the improvement of human welfare, social equality and economic development.

The proposal has been built on a foundation of existing research activities, with the involvement of additional stakeholders, business, government, and third sector organisations, promoting cross-disciplinary expertise to tackle three developmental challenges, and ensuring that impact extents beyond the length of the project.

Our short-term goals are to build research capacity, partnerships and knowledge, with the longer-term goals of stimulating economic and social growth around biodiversity. We have established an alliance of institutions in the UK and Colombia in order to (1) gather information on changes in distribution, diversity, and conservation status of the natural diversity of Colombia, (2) characterise and manage agricultural genetic biodiversity to make breeding and farming more efficient, and (3) assess the challenges and impacts associated with the biodiversity challenges outlined in the other two work programmes to develop key relevant policies and programmes.

In addition we will build research capability by developing researchers' skills, as well their access to research information and resources through group meetings, workshops, networking events and training courses, that will be delivered in collaboration with Colombian partners and in alignment with the activities of the proposal. We will also improve the technological self-sufficiency of the Colombian research community by facilitating the adoption of innovative technologies. Furthermore, we will ensure we raise awareness of the challenges among the public and inform them of how our outcomes are likely to benefit them. Our proposal on Colombian Biodiversity is timely and will allow the targeted country to reach higher scientific level in the proposed activities as well as applying science to inform decision-making and business investments in sustainable agriculture. Ultimately its outcomes will contribute to a long lasting impact by promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels (UN SDG 16).

Planned Impact

At this very important time in Colombian post conflict history, we propose an innovative development strategy to deliver a multidisciplinary and integrated approach, which connects academic, public and private institutions in the UK and Colombia around key biodiversity issues. Our short-term goal is to build research capacity, partnerships and knowledge, with a longer-term goal of stimulating economic and social growth around biodiversity.

The proposal brings together an alliance of complementary skills from a wide range of project partners to understand the mutual impacts of bio-diverse ecosystems and sustainable agricultural productivity. The three main overarching programmes of the proposal are:
1. Natural diversity of organisms and ecosystems in Colombia through characterisation and management of genetic diversity of species, as well as understanding of changes in biodiversity distribution, and conservation status with the long term goal of preventing biodiversity loss.
2. Agricultural diversity of crop species in Colombia through characterising and management of genetic diversity with the long term goal of accelerating breeding and making farming practices more efficient.
3. Socio-economics assessment of the challenges and impacts associated with the biodiversity development opportunities outlined above with the long term goal of developing key relevant policies and programmes.

In order to maximise the impact of our proposal, for each of the described programmes above we will:
1. Support new and ongoing research activities focused on characterising natural and agricultural genetic diversity with the goal of preventing biodiversity loss, improving food security and renewable supplies of plant materials.
2. Create technical training opportunities for all career levels across all three proposed objectives, with emphasis on developing skills of young researchers and facilitating exchanges between UK and Colombia.
3. Assess the value and impact of biodiversity and assist government agencies in incorporating the information into key relevant policies and programmes.
4. Engage with civil organisation and key stakeholders to inform the public about biodiversity and the government on how it might support this engagement in the future.

Publications

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Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
BB/P028098/1 01/10/2017 05/08/2020 £5,332,080
BB/P028098/2 Transfer BB/P028098/1 06/08/2020 31/03/2022 £2,491,050