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Colombia Finally Achieves Peace; Now It's Time to Face Environmental Challenges

Oct 25, 2016 05:20 AM EDT

Half a century of war in Colombia has been concluded with a peace accord to cease conflict and establish stable and long-lasting peace. Four years of negotiations have resulted in an accord that focuses on ceasefire, guerrilla demobilization, integral rural reform, transitional justice, political participation of ex-combatants, and drug policy.

The end of the war will finally allow Colombia to utilize their natural resources without enriching illegal groups or corrupt politicians. At last, land could be used to create and implement sustainable tourism programs without abusing resource extraction. The preservation and responsible use of resources is expected to produce a better quality of life to the Colombian population.

Dejusticia, a Colombia-based NGO campaigning for strengthening the rule of law and promoting human rights in the country, has pointed out that the armed conflict has been accompanied by bombings of oil pipelines, pollution due to illegal mining, the presence of armed groups and anti-personnel mines in protected areas, and the expansion of the agricultural frontier because of forced displacement.

The conclusion of the war in Colombia finally opens the door to repairing environmental damage and fully focusing on the country's development. The peace accord has the potential to decrease deforestation and concentrate on reforestation and the conservation of natural parks and the Colombian ecosystem.

With the conflict over, important regulations, such as those created to minimize threats to the Columbia Wetland ecosystem and enhance public safety, were enacted on October 19, 2016. Globally recognized as a wetland of great value, the Columbia Wetlands are the source of the greatest river streaming into the Pacific Ocean in North America. Possessing a diverse ecosystem, the Columbia Wetlands contain hundreds of thousands of birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians and mammals, and freshwater to surrounding communities.

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