The Climate, Equity and Sustainability (CES) Program is ESI’s largest effort on biodiversity conservation and our foundational program in Latin America. Working with communities in some of the most vulnerable areas of the Amazon Piedmont, as well as government institutions and private sector partners, the CES Program promotes local economic development while preserving this irreplaceable ecosystem as a source of income, wealth, security and peace.
The CES Program is currently active in Colombia, our main hub and entry point to the Amazon region. Current and prospective partners include the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and Latin America’s Development Bank CAF, national agencies like the Ministry for Environment and Sustainable Development (MADS), Colombian research institutes such as Alexander von Humboldt Biological Resources Research Institute (IAvH) and the Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies (IDEAM), and regional partners such as the Colombian Amazon’s regional environmental regulator, Corpoamazonia, the Sixth Division of the National Army, and local community oversight and indigenous groups in Mocoa (Putumayo). Through deep, long-term engagement with these and other partners, we are designing, executing, and disseminating new approaches to inclusive economic development in vulnerable ecosystems.
Our strategy in Colombia relies on local leadership and expertise, while introducing new technical and technological capacity where it can help align conservation with efforts to reduce socioeconomic vulnerability. We are creating a robust toolkit of nature-based solutions that includes green business labs with enhanced bio-prospecting capacity, integrated landscape management, and the deployment of unmanned aerial vehicles for participatory monitoring of carbon sequestration and climate change risks. This multidisciplinary approach will help communities in Colombia to simultaneously reduce deforestation, build capacity for climate change adaptation, and advance economic equality and opportunity.
Principal Investigator: John Fernández, Director ESI
Project Manager: Marcela Angel, Research Associate ESI
Co-Investigator: Juan Camilo Osorio, PhD Candidate MIT-DUSP
Co-Investigator: Nourhan Bayomi, PhD Candidate MIT-Architecture, Building Technology