Meeting policy challenges for a responsible biodiversity based bio-economy in Colombia

Lead Research Organisation: Earlham Institute
Department Name: Research Faculty

Abstract

Colombia is one of the 17 "megadiverse" countries in the world. Developing a sustainable bioeconomy based on the responsible use of its biodiversity is a priceless opportunity for the equitable, inclusive and sustainable socio-economic growth of the country. Colombia is just starting to develop and implement bioeconomic strategies and policies, as well as the related systematic assessment of the environmental and social impacts brought by such economic changes.

Our cluster will bring together academic researchers, key industry, and government and policy advisors from Colombia and the UK to contribute establishing sustainable bioeconomic strategies (Phase 1) and pilot initiatives (Phase 2) in the agri-food and scientific ecotourism sectors in four targeted regions of Colombia. These strategic sectors and regions have been identified in previous activities.

The cluster builds on three UKRI GCRF projects (>£10M investment) in Latin America, mainly Colombia, with strong complementary capacity building programmes ("GROW Colombia", "CABANA" and "UKRI GCRF Trade, Development and the Environment Hub"), two Newton-Fund projects in Colombia (BRIDGE and C3biodiversidad), and the policy work by the PIs in the UK and Colombia, who participated as experts in the Colombian President's mission to develop Colombia's Science, technology and innovation (STI) agenda. Colombian partners include business associations and the Chamber of Commerce of the targetted regions, exemplary bioeconomic business, non-profit organisations implementing ecotourism pilot projects and key Universities and Research Institutes working in these four regions from our previous activities.

The cluster in this first phase (12 months) will facilitate three regional workshops to foster multisectoral partnerships in the agri-food and ecotourism sector in four regions. It will also conduct technical assessments of the existing and required capacity as well as market opportunities and challenges in each region, and eventually propose pilot strategies to transform the value chains while conserving the natural resources and yielding transparent environmental, social and economic benefits, that could be elaborated in a second phase.

Our cluster is built on a shared vision of ensuring environmental sustainability in Colombia. Our work can be extended to other developing LATAM countries with similar needs and opportunities where our activities are already happening (Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, etc.). The cluster also responds to and interconnects various sustainable development goals (SDGs), and provides capacities to a generation of scientists, managers and industry actors crossing disciplines for the local action of such SDGs.

Planned Impact

Colombia is the second most diverse country in the world, in terms of species richness, habitats and diversity of cultures. An important part of Colombia's economy is based on natural resource extraction, biodiversity loss and its consequences on ecosystem functioning and services is a global challenge, and its negative impacts are more severely felt by poor people and countries where the dependence on natural resources is higher and the capacity to utilise them lower or lacking.

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 multi-sectoral institutions in the UK and Colombia to develop a shared vision centred on a biodiversity-based economy as a means to achieve sustainability and social and economic prosperity. 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.

In order to maximise the impact of its activities, the cluster builds on existing UKRI and Newton-Fund investments, existing partnerships, and novel engagements with industry, NGOs and government at the national and regional levels in order to contribute establishing sustainable bioeconomic strategies (Phase 1) and pilot initiatives (Phase 2) in the agri-food and scientific ecotourism sectors in four targeted regions of Colombia. These strategic sectors and regions have been identified in previous activities. It is only by bringing together expertise from different disciplines and multi-sectoral perspectives that we can address the challenges of developing countries and effectively contribute to policymaking and implementation.

The cluster will deliver transversal impact through clear measurable outcomes aimed at (a) strengthening multi-sectoral (academia, industry, government) partnerships in the agri-food and scientific tourism sectors, (b) enhancing the economic development of Colombian regions around pilot strategies, (c) facilitating advanced skills and best practices amongst key actors in the potential sectors.

Publications

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Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
EP/T025026/1 01/06/2020 05/08/2020 £126,874
EP/T025026/2 Transfer EP/T025026/1 06/08/2020 31/08/2021 £127,902
 
Title A blog to showcase the Colombian bioeconomy 
Description GROW Colombia´s blog series showcases the project´s research and another activities it develops with the intent to reach a wide audience and incite impact (changes in behaviour, engagement and collaboration). 
Type Of Art Creative Writing 
Year Produced 2020 
Impact Visits to GROW Colombia´s website have steadily increased as its website blog piece are promoted using social media strategies. Increased readership increases the chances of having a positive impact on the general audience (awareness, changes in behaviour and perception towards Colombia´s biodiversity and its potential to fuel a sustainable bioeconomy). 
URL https://growcolombia.org/blog/creating-a-multisectoral-bioeconomy-cluster-to-bolster-colombias-bioec...
 
Description Together with our partners and collaborators we have created a bioeconomy cluster in Colombia, through which we expect to positively impact the development of sustainable bioeconomy initiatives. To run the cluster, a management team has been established and founder partners and collaborators have started to organise cluster activities.

As part of the cluster`s activities we are organizing capacity development events that will take place in March and May 2021.
The March workshop will feature the participation of national and international experts who will talk about the state of the Colombian bioeconomy and its potential in four regions in alignment with the United Nations´ Sustainable Development Goals. During this capacity building event, relevant topics for the Colombian bioeconomy such as governance, financing, regulatory aspects and pathways for its sustainable development will be addressed.
The May workshop will focus on knowledge-exchange around data policy. The plan is to organise a networking online event on useful policy models for biodiversity data management, including benefit-sharing in the context of biodiversity genomic data. Themes will include science policy, data policy, physical infrastructure (capital), training coordination, public outreach, etc. This will be organised in coordination with CABANA and cybercolombia/c3biodiversidad.

We are also organizing regional workshops in April. The workshops aim to identify a handful of bioeconomy pilot projects in Colombia to be implemented in the second phase of the GCRF cluster. So far, the organisation of the regional workshops has focused on gathering and assessing regional macroeconomic information and developing a bioeconomy survey and database of key actors and potential bioeconomy projects for each of the four regions. We are formulating social, environmental and economic assessment criteria to evaluate and shortlist the bioeconomy projects during the workshops.
The initiatives are being developed for the Orinoco, Coffee region, Antioquia, and Valle de Cauca regions.

The regional macroeconomics report and the relevant information from the survey will contribute to formulate policy recommendations for national and local government in support of the economic development of each of the four regions.

The pandemic has severely affected the project due to international and national travel restrictions. Originally the engagement activities in the regions and the training events were intended to be in person, but our strong foundation of partnerships developed through the GROW Colombia, and CABANA GCRF projects, has allowed us to successfully pivot and organise all of our events virtually.
Exploitation Route We envision that the cluster will serve as a multi-actor and multi-sectoral collaborative platform through which bioeconomic initiatives can be fostered and implemented.

Our cluster is built on a shared vision of ensuring environmental sustainability in Colombia, responding to and interconnecting many sustainable development goals (SDGs). Through its partnership, the cluster will also engage the active participation of our essential but often overlooked partners, the indigenous populations inhabiting the most biodiverse areas, the wider farming communities and displaced communities seeking to reintegrate through new educational and economic opportunities. The multisectoral aspect of the cluster composition will provide a training platform for a new generation of scientists, managers and industry crossing disciplines and contributing actionable programmes for the translation of SDGs. Although Colombia will be the primary beneficiary of our activities, we will extend our work to other Latin-American countries (where other projects run by partners have already established partnerships and trust), such as Mexico, Costa Rica, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia and Ecuador, all placed on the DAC list and facing similar issues of preserving unique biodiversity while promoting the sustainable use of the land and economic growth.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Energy,Environment,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

URL https://eventos.uniandes.edu.co/taller-bioeconomia-colombia/details
 
Title Bioeconomy actors survey for regional workshops 
Description The dataset has been compiled through a survey administered to companies and organisation operating in bioeconomy sectors in Colombia. The dataset includes general information about the company/organisation (name, type, operational profile), information on current and prospective activities (sector, use or resources), information on requisites and outcomes of bioeconomy activities. The dataset is anonymised and the survey has undergone ethical approval process. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2021 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The dataset has been used by project's researchers to produce knowledge for informing the regional stakeholders' workshops and the selection of bioeconomy projects. 
 
Title Bioeconomy opportunities for four Colombian regions 
Description Data handling and generation of monitoring framework for bioeconomy opportunities assessment are used to analyse a set of secondary data from Colombian official sources of information (e.g., DANE, Fedegan). The data collated and analysed include economic data (e.g. GDP, agricultural production, access to market), social data (e.g. education, innovation, safety), and environmental data (e.g. environmental impacts, key habitats). The novel monitoring framework is developed based on clustering and data reduction methods and aims to generate a standardised monitoring system for bioeconomy investments and operations in Colombia. 
Type Of Material Data handling & control 
Year Produced 2021 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The monitoring framework has been used by project's researchers to produce knowledge for informing the regional stakeholders' workshops and the selection of bioeconomy projects. 
 
Title Bioeconomy projects and initiatives in four regions of Colombia 
Description The dataset includes general information on the bioeconomy projects and initiatives that are being developed in four regions of Colombia: Antioquia, Valle del Cauca, Orinoquía and Eje Cafetero. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2021 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The dataset has been used by project's researchers to select the projects/initiatives that will be evaluated during the regional workshops. 
 
Description Asorinoquia 
Organisation Business Association for the Development of the Orinoquia (ASORINOQUIA)
Country Colombia 
Sector Learned Society 
PI Contribution We are collaborating with Asoorinoquia in establishing a bioeconomy cluster and in planning and executing several of its activities.
Collaborator Contribution Asorinoquia is providing input data on suitable bioeconomy projects for the Orinoco region.
Impact Establishing cluster Data for cluster activities i.e. trainings and workshops
Start Year 2020
 
Description Bioeconomy cluster and Chamber of Commerce in Cali 
Organisation Cali Chamber of Commerce
Country Colombia 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution We are collaborating with the Cali Chamber of Commerce to identify suitable bioeconomy projects to assess in the cluster.
Collaborator Contribution The Cali Chamber of Commerce is identifying bioeconomy projects in the Valley region as input to cluster activities.
Impact Establishing cluster Input data for cluster activities i.e. trainings and workshops
Start Year 2020
 
Description Bioeconomy cluster and Earlham Institute 
Organisation Earlham Institute
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are collaborating with Earlham Institute in establishing a bioeconomy cluster and in planning and executing several of its activities.
Collaborator Contribution Earlham Institute is collaborating in planning and executing some of the cluster activities.
Impact Establishment of cluster Organising and executing cluster activities i.e. trainings and workshops
Start Year 2020
 
Description Bioeconomy cluster and Ecoflora Cares 
Organisation Ecoflora Cares
Country Colombia 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We are collaborating with Ecoflora Cares in establishing a bioeconomy cluster.
Collaborator Contribution Ecoflora Cares has provided insight on several bioeconomy projects that can be considered under the cluster.
Impact Establishing cluster Providing input for cluster activities i.e. trainings and workshops
Start Year 2020
 
Description Bioeconomy cluster and Humboldt Institute 
Organisation Alexander von Humboldt Biological Resources Research Institute
Country Colombia 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution We are collaborating with Humboldt Institute in establishing a bioeconomy cluster and in planning and executing several of its activities.
Collaborator Contribution Humboldt Institute is collaborating in planning and executing some of the cluster activities.
Impact Establishing cluster Organising and executing cluster activities i.e. trainings and workshops
Start Year 2020
 
Description Bioeconomy cluster and ICESI University 
Organisation ICESI University
Country Colombia 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We have worked together with ICESI University to establish the bioeconomy cluster in Colombia. This means working together to plan cluster activities e.g. capacity building and regional workshops.
Collaborator Contribution We have worked together with ICESI University to establish the bioeconomy cluster in Colombia. This means working together to plan cluster activities e.g. capacity building and regional workshops.
Impact Establishment of an the bioeconmy cluster Working to plan and execute cluster activities (workshops)
Start Year 2020
 
Description Bioeconomy cluster and Ministry of Science and Technology, Technology and Innovation 
Organisation Government of Colombia
Department Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation
Country Colombia 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution We are reflecting elements of the Ministry´s bioeconomy policy in our bioeconomy cluster and research.
Collaborator Contribution The Ministry is collaborating to identify bioeconomy projects that can be studied in the cluster and they are supporting the establishment of the cluster and its activities.
Impact Establishing cluster Input for cluster activities i.e. trainings and workshops
Start Year 2020
 
Description Bioeconomy cluster and Transforma 
Organisation Transforma
Country Colombia 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution We are exploring how to develop ecotourism research opportunities in Colombia together with Transforma.
Collaborator Contribution Transforma is contributing with it experiences to guide cluster activities on ecotourism.
Impact Several ecotourism projects have been identified that are being studied under the cluster.
Start Year 2020
 
Description Bioeconomy cluster and Universidad Tecnologica de Pereira 
Organisation Technological University of Pereira
Country Colombia 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are collaborating with Technological University of Pereira in establishing a bioeconomy cluster and in planning and executing several of its activities.
Collaborator Contribution Technological University of Pereira is collaborating in planning and executing some of the cluster activities.
Impact Establishing cluster Organising and executing cluster activities i.e. trainings and workshops
Start Year 2020
 
Description Bioeconomy cluster and Universidad de los Andes 
Organisation University of the Andes
Country Colombia 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We have supported the Universidad de los Andes in its leadership position in establishing a bioeconomy cluster in Colombia.
Collaborator Contribution The Universidad de los Andes is leading the establishment of a bioeconomy cluster in Colombia. They are leading on the organization and execution of all cluster activities.
Impact Establishment of a bioeconomy cluster Preparation of cluster activities (workshops and trainings)
Start Year 2020
 
Description Bioeconomy cluster and University of Southampton 
Organisation University of Southampton
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are collaborating with the University of Southampton in establishing a bioeconomy cluster and in planning and executing several of its activities.
Collaborator Contribution The University of Southampton is collaborating in planning and executing some of the cluster activities.
Impact Establishing cluster Organising and executing cluster activities i.e. trainings and workshops
Start Year 2020
 
Description Biodiversity is key to economic development in Colombia 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Press release announcing publication of two GROW Colombia socio-economics reports about Colombia's bio-economy
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.uea.ac.uk/news/-/article/biodiversity-key-to-economic-development-in-colombia
 
Description Collaboration with ANDI (National Business Association of Colombia) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The project was introduced to the National Business Association of Colombia. The director of the Water Institute from ANDI the director of Biocomestics Chamber also presented the structure of ANDI and explained what business Chambers were more relevant for the project . The discussion was around how to impove the outreach of the project through the associates of ANDI . As a result of this engagement, ANDI agreed to collaborate with the project and circulate a survey to assess bioeconomy status in Colombia and to support implementation of the workshops through they media channels and as requested by the management team.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Earth Biogenome Project Colombia (EBP Colombia) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Nearly 100 persons attended the launch of Earth Biogenome Project Colombia, the Colombian national chapter of Earth Biogenome Project a global initiative to sequence the live on Earth.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8H3uiH7Vslw&t=1680s
 
Description Engagement with CenicaƱa 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The project was presented to Cenicaña, the research institute on sugarcane in Colombia. From Cenicaña particpated the directors of processes, sustainable energy production and alternative bussiness, and the reserach team working on socio economics aspcts of sugarcane production. The Cenicaña team raised their concers about the type of projects that should be selected for the regional cluster of Valle del Cauca. They presented some projects on sustainable use of sugarcane that could be relevant for the cluster. As a result, Cenicaña asked to be invoved in the training events and agreed to share information about their initiatives that could be considered by the cluster.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021