Environments for Peace
Dear ladies and gentlemen
Amigos todos: Gracias por recibirme aquí en Mesetas!
Thank you for welcoming me to Mesetas! This is a beautiful and unique place. I am very happy to be here with you today.
Thank you also for the warm welcome by the schoolchildren earlier today. Their energy and smiles is the best illustration of the hope and potential this place holds.
Let me start by congratulating all of you who are part of the Environments for Peace programme. A very important programme.
I want to congratulate the Government – both national and local authorities – as well as the FARC and community members.
Together with UNDP and NRC, your tireless work and commitment to building peace and development, has led to new opportunities for the people here in Mesetas – for ex-combatants and civilians alike.
You should be very proud of what you have achieved - together.
As Colombians, you are showing other parts of the world that it is possible to move forward after a very difficult period in your country. By working together, you are building a better future for your country.
This project and the work you as Colombians are doing - cooperating across former conflict lines - is an inspiration to the world.
I am proud to see that UNDP and Norway are your partners in building peace, creating development and taking care of the environment.
As the United Nations Goodwill Ambassador, I am also proud to be part of inaugurating the Caño Rojo Trail. It was a great experience today, to walk the trail and see the beautiful waterfall. It is clear that the “Hidden Paradises campaign” really lives up to its name!
I am sure that there will be many visitors who will get the opportunity to see this area and have this unique experience.
Because this area is truly unique in terms of its history, its biodiversity, and its part of the global ecosystem.
Colombia’s forests, especially the Amazonas, is extremely important for the earth that we all share as our common home – la tierra es nuestra casa común.
The rainforest is not only a local resource, but truly a resource for all human kind. We often call the Amazonas “the Lungs of the Earth”: Your forest both creates oxygen, and captures Co2 at an enormous scale – both which are crucial for the long-term survival and health of our planet.
But also in terms of biodiversity is Colombia and your forests unique: I have read that Colombia is one of the most biologically rich countries in the entire world, with more than 300 types of ecosystems and thousands of native species of flora and fauna, many which are not found any where else in the world.
That is why it is so important that you protect it, take care of it and make sure it will be here for future generations.
I know you are facing challenges, but your work is making a difference, and it is very important that you succeed.
I also know that UNDP and Norway are committed, long-term partners in supporting you in protecting your beautiful forests.
Nature conservation is not usually among the top issues when ending an armed conflict, but peace is a great opportunity to use the natural resources these forests represent in sustainable ways:
Sectors such as Eco Tourism have begun to represent genuine options to create work and income. The Environments for Peace is an important contribution to this.
Peace means that tourists can see Colombia in a different perspective and travel to places that were out of reach before. Hidden paradises are discovered.
Peace sends a powerful message of hope to the world.
Colombia faces a unique and historic opportunity. Peace is a new chapter. It will not be easy, it will be hard work and it requires the continuous participation of the entire society.
This is precisely what Environments for Peace is: an innovative programme where the government, FARC, local communities, UNDP and NRC work together. And together, you are really making a difference.
I congratulate you for the progress made. I know that UNDP, NRC and Norway will stay with you and support your efforts.
Otra vez, gracias por darme una bienvenida tan calorosa.
Buena suerte y muchas gracias.