Environmental Activists in Danger: Analysing the interactions between environmental and security risks in the Colombian Amazon region

Rainforest Mountains - Amazon rain forest

The Colombian Amazon is facing significant environmental challenges, including increasing deforestation and pollution, as well as threats from illegal mining. These challenges direly affect local livelihoods and threaten global progress on mitigation of climate change. At the same time, they interact with the region’s complex security context, where in spite of the 2016 Peace Agreement the legacy of armed conflict still contributes to violence and threatens the lives and work of environmental defenders.

WWF is supporting a working group of NGOs in Colombia to analyse the complex linkages between environmental, social and security risks, and assess their impact on the activities and personal safety of environmental defenders. In this context, it has commissioned adelphi and Fundación Ideas para la Paz to provide support in better understand this nexus in order to demand action by relevant government and international actors. This analysis also aims at contributing towards a more comprehensive understanding of the ways in which environmental and security risks interact in the Colombian Amazon to threaten livelihoods and conservation goals while at the same time fuelling conflicts and human rights violations.

Specifically, adelphi and Fundación Ideas para la Paz will produce a policy report to look at socio-environmental conflicts and their implications for environmental defenders in the Colombian Amazon, and make recommendations to the Colombian government and international donors/organisations on how to address them. Furthermore, adelphi works with Fundación Ideas para la Paz to develop a communication strategy, mapping the relevant stakeholders that can implement the recommendations included in the policy report, and making suggestions of targeted messages that the NGO working group could use for its engagement with them. Two specific outreach events will also be organised to present the results of the report to policy makers will be organised in collaboration with the WWF and the Colombian partners.