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Colombian Foreign Policy on the Environment

The issue of the environment is very important for Colombia's foreign policy. Since the Summit of Rio de Janeiro in 1992, Colombia's international position in this field has become progressively stronger. Due to its great wealth of natural resources, the country has a privileged position that requires the consolidation of an environmental policy on preservation and recovery. Moreover, this position influences the country's development path as well as its international relations. This complex challenge has become part of the concept of sustainable development, which has implications on the social, political and economic arenas.

Colombia has adopted advanced regulations as well as international conventions in this matter. Moreover, the country has established great reserves through the creation of natural forests. Besides national actions, international relations on environmental issues continue to be stronger, taking advantage of the multiple opportunities in multilateral forums. Colombia has led forums and important actions in world decisions at the United Nations in the environmental field, such as: The Commission for Sustainable Development; the negotiations on a Protocol on Biosecurity; and in inter-governmental discussions on woodlands.

Advances on the domestic front and the leading part played by Colombian delegations in major negotiations, are indications to the international community that we have a clear commitment to the preservation and protection of the environment, and of renewal and non-renewal natural resources. At the same time, they illustrate our recognition that the sustainable growth of this planet is a joint responsibility, which entails obligations taking into account the exercise of the state's sovereignty in the definition of priorities.

Colombia also supports the principle of common but differentiated responsibility, which should be the guiding principle in matters of the environment of commitments and relations between developing and developed countries. Also the contributions and environmental services provided by Colombia and other developing countries to the international community are a factor, which support this approach.

Another principle supporting Colombia's position is the right to development. This issue is intimately related to the principle of sovereignty of other resources, especially to the use and access of genetic resources and traditional knowledge, derived from biological diversity and biosecurity. Colombia is the second richest country in the world in biodiversity and this gives it an advantageous bargaining position.

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