This Colombian project is using nature to tackle drought

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Charlotte Edmond, Senior Writer, Formative Content

  • La Mojana is particularly exposed to climate change, and many of its residents rely on the delta system for their daily lives and livelihoods.
  • Replantating wetlands, improved water use, and early-warning systems are being used to reduce strain on water resources and prevent damage to crops, homes and businesses.
  • Nature-based solutions are a crucial tool in tackling climate change, with University of Oxford scientists estimating it could limit global warming by up to 0.3°C.

As climate change increasingly makes itself felt with more extremes of temperature and weather, there is often talk of the need for greater investment and innovation to tackle the problems we will all more frequently face. And while this is true, one project in Colombia is also demonstrating how far we can take existing solutions provided to us by Mother Nature.

La Mojana, to the north of the country, is home to a complex delta system particularly exposed to the effects of climate change. The 400,000 inhabitants of the area are largely poor, and dependent on the water systems for their livelihoods.

Access to drinking water is a particular problem, and crops are being damaged by both droughts and floods, affecting the income and lives of many smallholders.

But through a $117-million project, which promotes sustainable ecosystem management, it is hoped communities will be better protected from floods and sustained dry periods.

Wetland protection

Much of the activity focuses on La Mojana’s crucial wetlands, which, in common with many other wetland areas around the world, have been degraded.

Deforestation and loss of these areas makes La Mojana more prone to flooding, and means vital water resources become scarce.

this man is planting a tree nursery
Tree nurseries are helping to reestablish wetlands and promote natural flood defences. Image: UNDP

Families have been supported to create nurseries that nurture native trees and plants. Huge replantation projects are helping restore the natural balance to ecosystems. And better local water management – undoing some of the damage caused by agriculture – is helping reconnect and replenish water systems.

Conservation organization, the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, says over a third of the world’s wetlands have disappeared since 1970, and 40% of the world’s species are reliant on these ecosystems in some way.

Have you read?

Community-based initiatives like that at La Mojana are key to addressing water mismanagement at a grassroots level. Water scarcity already affects every continent and will become increasingly acute as population growth and urbanization places greater stress on resources.

The project will also promote the use of tools and technologies such as solar power and rainwater harvesting to help address long-term water supply problems. The drinking water supply has been made more secure through an upgraded system of micro-aqueducts which are more climate-resilient.

these people are working on a community reforestation project
Community reforestation projects are helping restore the natural ecosystem. Image: UNDP

The aim is also to grow a number of smaller-scale initiatives which will create early warning systems as a way of boosting climate resilience.

Nature has many of the answers

These so-called nature-based solutions, which pull on the ability of the natural environment to protect us from some of the effects of climate change, are seen as a crucial tool in helping us mitigate the worst effects of the climate crisis.

a diagram showing how the natural world can help boost climate change resilience
The natural world can help boost climate change resilience. Image: Springer, Nature-Based Solutions as a Tool in the New Circular Economic Model for Climate Change Adaptation

Recent research by a team at the University of Oxford found that nature-based solutions, including the large-scale restoration of ecosystems and improved land management, could cut peak global warming by between 0.1°C and 0.3°C.

What is the World Economic Forum doing on natural climate solutions?

The world faces converging environmental crises: the accelerating destruction of nature, and climate change.

Natural climate solutions (NCS) – investment in conservation and land management programmes that increase carbon storage and reduce carbon emissions – offer an important way of addressing both crises and generate additional environmental and social benefits.

Research conducted for the Forum’s Nature and Net Zero report confirms estimates that NCS can provide one-third of the climate mitigation to reach a 1.5° and 2° pathway by 2030—and at a lower cost than other forms of carbon dioxide removal. This report builds on the recommendations from the Taskforce for Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets, and identifies six actions to accelerate the scale-up of high-quality NCS and unlock markets through the combined efforts of business leaders, policymakers and civil society.

To foster collaboration, in 2019 the Forum and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development came together to establish the Natural Climate Solutions Alliance to convene public and private stakeholders with the purpose of identifying opportunities and barriers to investment into NCS.

NCS Alliance member organizations provided expert input to develop the Natural Climate Solutions for Corporates, a high-level guide to the credible use of NCS credits by businesses.

Get in touch to join our mission to unleash the power of nature.

These natural solutions could help remove as much as 10 gigatons of carbon dioxide per year from 2025 onwards – more than the global transportation sector’s annual emissions, the scientists say.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

European Commission: the LED lights of your Audi A6 shall save our planet

A new approach to scaling-up renewable power in emerging markets

Ensure that widows are ‘not left out or left behind’, UN chief urges on International Day

COVID-19 wave III and the lessons learned

Threats from mammoth banks and Brussels fuel May’s poll rates

EU and Amazon cut deal to end antitrust investigation over e-books deals

MEPs urge EU countries to be transparent about their COVID-19 vaccine supplies

Here’s how private investors can turn plastic into gold

Still a long way to go to achieve gender equality in all EU countries

Africa is set to get its first vertical forest

‘Millions facing starvation’ – Global political and business leaders on the economic impact of COVID-19

How the gender commuting gap could be harming women’s careers

Will 2020 be the year blockchain overcomes its hype?

Progress in medical research: leading or lagging behind?

Bacteria vs. humans: how to fight in this world war?

The future of energy is being shaped in Asia

What we know and what we don’t know about universal basic income

The first new university in the UK for 40 years is taking a very different approach to education

OECD household income up 0.7% in first quarter of 2018, outpacing GDP growth

First seat projections for the next European Parliament

The energy industry is changing. Are governments switched on?

What is the IMF telling Eurozone about fiscal and banking unification?

Trump ‘used’ G20 to side with Putin and split climate and trade packs

Re-thinking citizenship education: bringing young people back to the ballot box

Commission issues guidance on the participation of third country bidders in the EU procurement market

Car rentals: EU action leads to clearer and more transparent pricing

What’s going on in Chernobyl today?

Here’s how we get businesses to harmonize on climate change

Why are the Balkans’ political leaders meeting in Geneva this week?

Support for EU remains at historically high level despite sceptics

US pardons for accused war criminals, contrary to international law: UN rights office

European Business Summit 2015: In search of a vision for the future

Brexit casts a shadow over the LSE – Deutsche Börse merger: a tracer of how or if brexit is to be implemented

Migrants and refugees face higher risk of developing ill-health, says UN report on displaced people in Europe

Autumn 2019 Standard Eurobarometer: immigration and climate change remain main concerns at EU level

Stop the waste: UN food agencies call for action to reduce global hunger

The term AI overpromises. Let’s make machine learning work better for humans instead

How blended finance helped to keep energy supplies flowing during COVID-19

What will a post-pandemic economy look like? Here’s what chief economists expect

Innovation is the key to the pay-TV industry’s long-term growth

Mergers: Commission approves GlaxoSmithKline’s acquisition of Pfizer’s Consumer Health Business, subject to conditions

Coronavirus: Commission launches call for innovative response and recovery partnerships between EU regions

Parliament names radio studio after journalists murdered in December attack

4 things to know about the state of conflict today

World-famous cultural institutions closed due to coronavirus are welcoming virtual visitors

As Houthi forces withdraw from key Yemeni ports, UN monitoring chief welcomes ‘first practical step on the ground’

Get out, stay out: how financial resilience helps end poverty

The ‘ASEAN way’: what it is, how it must change for the future

30 years of tissue engineering, what has been achieved?

Businesses are lacking moral leadership, according to employees

Mental health and suicide prevention

‘Perseverance is key’ to Iraq’s future, UN envoy tells Security Council

Belgium: Youth Forum takes legal step to ban unpaid internships

European Commission recommends common EU approach to the security of 5G networks

The Future of Balkans: Embracing Education

The European Parliament fails to really restrict the rating agencies

Gas pipeline in the European Union. (Copyright: EU, 2012 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Ferenc Isza)

EU Investment Bank approves € 1.5bn loan for Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP)

Could Europe become the first climate-neutral continent?

Venezuela’s needs ‘significant and growing’ UN humanitarian chief warns Security Council, as ‘unparalleled’ exodus continues

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s