In a high-level meeting, the Colombian Conservation Caucus and Oceans Caucus and ICCF gathered in a working breakfast titled "European Green Deal: Promoting Sustainable Development in Colombia."
In a high-level meeting, the Colombian Conservation Caucus and Oceans Caucus, under the leadership of Vice President of the Senate Didier Lobo and President of the House of Representatives Andrés Calle, along with more than 30 Colombian Congress members; the Honorable Ambassador of the European Union Delegation in Colombia (DUE) Gilles Bertrand; Paolo Garzotti, Head of the Latin America Unit, Directorate-General for Trade, European Commission; Olivier Luyckx, Head of the South America Unit for International Partnerships of the European Commission; representatives from EU Member States; the Italian Agency for Cooperation and Development (AICS); the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N. (FAO); and ICCF gathered in a working breakfast titled "European Green Deal: Promoting Sustainable Development in Colombia."
During this dialogue, aspects related to political dialogue, technical and financial cooperation, and trade relations between Colombia and the EU were addressed, providing a forum for discussions on the opportunities and challenges generated by the European Green Deal in the country.
Various key topics were explored, including a brief overview of the "Global Gateway" and the EU's "Farm to Fork" strategy, but special emphasis was placed on the recently adopted "Deforestation Regulation" aimed at curbing deforestation fueled by the consumption of raw materials (coffee, cocoa, palm oil, wood, meat and milk, soy, rubber, and derivatives) in the European Union.
Present Congress members made several comments, addressing fundamental issues such as the challenges and benefits of such regulations for countries like Colombia, particularly regarding key issues such as the fight against climate change, but also the country's overall sustainable development and specifically the strengthening of rural economies and the promotion of agroecological products. Support was also expressed for initiatives promoting traceability in different sectors such as coffee, cocoa, and palm oil exported to the EU, as well as others critical to deforestation in the country like livestock; emphasis was placed on the need to promote forest restoration, the bioeconomy, internal consumption, and the export of deforestation-free products.
For the Government of Colombia, advancing in agrarian reform is crucial, considering the challenges posed by climate change at both local and global levels, which require addressing key issues in Colombia such as deforestation. Faced with the requirements outlined in EU regulations, joint work was proposed to advance public policy issues, which will involve significant adjustments to national systems of traceability, due diligence, legality, and others
Representatives from business associations shared their challenges and agreed on the need to advance public policy instruments that ensure product traceability. The importance of working together to ensure the mitigation of the impact on deforestation caused by illegal activities was emphasized.
The European Union acknowledged the complexity of deforestation challenges in Colombia and noted that its support to the country on these issues has been ongoing for two decades (and will continue in the future), and the new regulations are an additional mechanism but also bring significant opportunities in the EU market. The importance of creating a system that considers the perspectives of different stakeholders, catalyzed through formal dialogue between legislators, the National Government, associations, and communities, was highlighted. For the EU, the backdrop is always not to leave anyone behind in the upcoming transition processes, especially small producers, youth, and women, as they are key to competitiveness, sustainability, and peace in the country.
This meeting reflects the EU's commitment to supporting Colombia in seizing opportunities and improving its competitiveness, meeting standards that facilitate the entry of quality products into the European market, as well as multisectoral determination to address the country's real needs and build robust initiatives for sustainable development.