On November 14, the project Attaining Sustainable Services from Ecosystems through trade-off Scenarios (ASSETS) was launched in the residence of the current British Ambassador, Mr John Dew. Delegates of the Colombian Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development (MADS), the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MADR), the Amazonian Institute for Scientific Research (SINCHI), members of the Gaia Amazon Foundation and the Organisation of Indigenous Peoples of the Colombian Amazon (OPIAC), amongst others, were present at the event, which is financed by Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alliviation (ESPA).
The project members from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and International Conservation (IC) presented how ASSETS aims to identify and quantify the linkages between ecosystem services that affect – and are affected by – food security and nutritional health for the rural poor at the point where forests and farming meet – known as the forestry-agriculture interface. The project focuses on Malawi and Colombia, two countries that share some common characteristics: they are both subject to climate change and deforestation and face problems of extreme poverty, inequality and malnutrition.
The discussion panel was moderated by Mrs Claudia Martínez, previously Vice Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development in Colombia. The discussions were particularly focusing on the existing preoccupations for food security in the Colombian Amazon, which is mainly due the large amount of high-cost food imports deriving from the central regions of Colombia. For that reason the ASSETS projects becomes a fundamental element as to contribute to finding the right answers through innovation and knowledge integration.
Due to the high interest shown by participating delegates at the launch of the project, it is very likely that the event will result in future synergies between decision makers and project members, which will lead to strengthened alliances that can help maintain food security and nutritional health in both Malawi and Colombia.