March 1, 2023. Bogotá, Colombia. The Colombia-USA Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Nexus Alliance, a research coalition composed of The Pennsylvania State University, the Stockholm Environment Institute – Latin America Center (SEI) and three Colombia universities, the National University of Colombia, Jorge Tadeo Lozano University, and Javeriana University, today announced the launch of its partnership with Amazon.
One of the Alliance’s most important projects is focused on the Chingaza Paramo, a nationally protected park and the most important Bogotá watershed, which provides the water supply for over 20% of Colombia’s population. Amazon has provided a grant to the Alliance to support this project, which will promote water security and will also benefit local communities.
“The Chingaza Paramo project provides a crucial learning laboratory to guide the sustainable management of Paramo ecosystems in Colombia and across the northern Andes, where these ecosystems dominate significant river basins and are a vital source of water supply for downstream populations. Amazon’s support to the Colombia – USA WEF Nexus Alliance represents a pivotal moment in the quest for sustainable water solutions and the opportunity to partner with the private sector to join efforts to protect key water resources, biodiversity, and ecosystem services while supporting rural development for communities living in proximity to Paramo ecosystems,” said David Purkey, the Center Director for SEI Latin America.
The Alliance’s Chingaza Paramo project aims to improve future planning by considering various factors such as the effects of land use on the Paramo’s ability to supply drinking water to the Bogotá River Basin. The project’s innovative approach will give valuable insight into the challenges faced by communities and the potential solutions that decision-makers can implement. This will have a direct and positive impact on communities that depend on the basin for their livelihoods and the population that relies on a secure and sustainable source of water in the long term.
“Our society and our planet are facing difficult challenges which no individual or institution can address alone. The WEF Nexus Alliance is a great example of what we can do when we agree on a common goal and join efforts to understand the complex challenges associated with water-energy-food systems and develop sustainable solutions. I am very excited about our collaboration with Amazon in the Chingaza Paramo, which is an important research site that is essential for water security,” said Siela Maximova, Director for Latin America and the Caribbean for Penn State Global and Research Professor of Plant Biotechnology.
Amazon’s grant of USD 35,000 (over 171,000,000 in Colombian pesos) for the Chingaza Paramo project constitutes the first corporate sponsorship of the Colombia-USA WEF Nexus Alliance. The Chingaza Paramo project will provide trainings on water governance with community participation and will also impact 6,500 residents from 11 municipalities in the Chingaza area by supporting innovation to build a new eco-tourism activity in the region, to design an instrument to pay for forest protection, and to implement a pilot program that connects local farmers to markets.
“We are very excited by this initiative to promote water governance in such an important ecosystem. The Chingaza Paramo provides a water supply to Bogotá that is fundamental to supporting the lives of millions of people in a sustainable way,” said Carolina Urrutia, Secretary of Environment in the Mayor’s Office of Bogotá.
The announcement was made during a launch event today at the National University of Colombia, which was attended by representatives of the Colombia – USA WEF Nexus Alliance and Amazon, as well as representatives from the Colombian Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, the Colombian Ministry of Colombian Science, Technology and Innovation, the Mayorship of Bogotá, local and international organizations, diplomatic corps, NGOs, and academia.
“In all the communities where we operate, we strive not only to be a great employer, but also a great neighbor, and that means investing in local sustainability initiatives. Clean water is essential, and that’s why we’re investing to protect the environment of the people and communities we serve,” said Brian Huseman, Amazon’s Vice President for Public Policy, who attended and spoke at the launch event.
The Colombia – USA WEF Nexus Alliance was established in 2022 to engage a variety of partners in the implementation of WEF Nexus projects and the advancement of policy innovation for sustainable development and climate-resilient solutions. The Alliance addresses major challenges in Colombia and the United States through partnerships in research, education, and sustainable development. It serves as a platform to build and sustain a community of researchers, provide technical infrastructure, coordinate policy engagement, and integrate education at different levels.
For further information about the Colombia – USA WEF Nexus Alliance and its research initiatives, please contact Julian Prieto, Colombia – USA WEF Nexus Alliance Coordinator ([email protected]).