Current situation

Colombia is making significant efforts to reduce deforestation and promote low-emission rural development (LED-R) in relevant sectors and strategic regions, particularly the Amazon. Forests cover around 52% of the Colombian territory (60 million hectares); 67% of these forests are located in the Amazon region. Agricultural expansion is the main driver of deforestation in the Amazon, with the region reporting the highest deforestation rates for the whole of Colombia for the period 2010-2012. The colonization frontier departments of Caquetá and Guaviare are characterized by especially high deforestation rates. In this context, the palm oil, sugarcane, biofuel, beef, and forest sectors hold great promise for sustainably increasing production and improving the well-being of rural populations.

Ongoing efforts to slow deforestation rates, a commitment to end deforestation in the Amazon by 2020, and initiatives such as the Colombian Strategy for Low Carbon Development and the Amazon Vision Program signal Colombia’s potential to become a leader in slowing greenhouse gas emissions and conserving biodiversity while promoting sustainable supply chains of commodities or alternative biodiversity-based products.

Our strategy

Despite covering less than 1% of the planet’s surface, Colombia is home to more than 10% of the world’s plant and animal species.

Despite covering less than 1% of the planet’s surface, Colombia is home to more than 10% of the world’s plant and animal species.

Interventions through which actors in Colombia could support the transition to a LED-R model in which deforestation declines and eventually ends as agricultural and livestock production and rural incomes increase.

STA partner Earth Innovation Institute (EII) works with a cross-section of stakeholders and partners in Colombia to support Colombia’s transition to sustainable, low-deforestation agricultural expansion. The principal goal of EII’s engagement is to support existing efforts and capacities within Colombia in order to help it fulfill its potential to be a global leader in sustainable farming and livestock production, climate change mitigation, and forest management.

The government of Colombia is ending the formulation phase of the Amazon Vision Program, a program that promotes the implementation of strategies to reduce deforestation along supply chains, involve private sector companies, foster zero-deforestation agreements with local producers and development sectors, and create measures to increase governance and monitoring systems. The Amazon Vision Program will be the umbrella program for the implementation of LED-R strategies in Colombia.

The challenge and the opportunity for Colombia is to foster a new LED-R model in which governments, private sector, farm sector and communities agree upon regional milestones for reducing deforestation, increasing production and improving livelihoods. Implementation of a jurisdictional approach to LED-R is a strategy for overcoming barriers such as a low capacity of local governments, lack of coordination between government agencies, low participation and commitment of the private sector with respect to environmental goals, lack of incentives and insufficient technical assistance. 

What We've Achieved

  • Mapping of initiatives that are promoting rural development and sustainable production systems.
  • An analysis of opportunities for promoting sustainable commodities supply chains while reducing rates of deforestation.
  • The identification of potential incentives, policies and financial mechanisms that could be applied to promote low-carbon development strategies 
  • The development of proposals for relevant supply chain interventions and governance approaches that could contribute to national strategies and plans, such as the Amazon Vision Program.

Coordinating partners

Earth Innovation Institute

Earth Innovation Institute


Maria DiGiano, mdigiano (@) earthinnovation (dot) org
María Teresa Becerra, mtbecerra (@) earthinnovation (dot) org