Sebastian Lema is a Colombian pioneer and specialist in climate finance who researches on post-conflict in Colombia and the opportunities this can bring for climate action. This year he was selected for the prestigious International Climate Protection Grant for young climate experts from developing countries of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to explore more about this issue.
Is post-conflict a climatic opportunity?
Sebastian is currently in Germany as a guest researcher for the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, where he investigates the relationship between climate change and post-conflict countries such as Colombia. This country has suffered an internal armed conflict since 1960 due to a complex political scenario.
In this conflict, more than 260,000 people have died, dozens of disappeared, multiple violations of human rights and displaced some 7 million people. It is a complex context in which climate action must be addressed to improve the quality of life of citizens.
“In the case of Colombia, the post-conflict issue is clearly a priority issue, it is at the top of the national agenda”, Sebastían Lema
On November 24, 2016, the Agreement for the Definitive Termination of the Conflict was signed in Bogotá, Colombia, opening a new stage for this country but a great challenge: the Post-Conflict. From this historical milestone, climate governance in Colombia must be developed in a new context and the NDC of this country contemplates it.
The INDC of Colombia takes this situation into account and mentions that one side effect of the cessation of the conflict is that it lends itself to increasing pressure for the use or extraction of natural resources in the most vulnerable areas and may result in an increase in negative impacts on the environment, such as deforestation. This is one of the challenges that Sebastían Lema will advocate in his research.
“So, in this sense, what I would look for is to give those recommendations for the formulation of public policies, where the development of post-conflict policies does not affect, for example, the fulfillment of the NDC (Estimated and Determined Contributions at the National Level) in Colombia.” Sebastían Lema
It is not an easy task and Sebastían knows it. It has been said that “Although the armed conflict with the FARC-EP ended, human rights defenders are still threatened and killed at an alarming rate”, advirtió the Deputy Secretary General of the UN for these fundamental guarantees.
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