MAC: Mines and Communities

Colombia bans mining in 47 coffee municipalities

Published by MAC on 2011-08-30
Source: Colombia Reports

World Heritage site to be protected

The Colombian government has prohibited mining in 47 coffee-growing municipalities, following recommendations by UNESCO that all such activity be halted in the designated World Heritage Site.

UNESCO spokesperson, Nuria Sanz, calls the Coffee Cultural Landscape:

"An exceptional example of a sustainable and productive cultural landscape that is unique and representative of a tradition that is a strong symbol for coffee growing areas worldwide - encompassing six farming landscapes, which include 18 urban centres on the foothills of the western and central ranges of the Cordillera de los Andes in the west of the country.

"It reflects a centennial tradition of coffee growing in small plots in the high forest and the way farmers have adapted cultivation to difficult mountain conditions". []


Mining prohibited in 47 Colombian coffee municipalities

Colombia Reports

15 August 2011

President Juan Manuel Santos assured Sunday that the Colombian government has prohibited mining in 47 coffee growing municipalities following the recommendations of UNESCO that considers the coffee region a World Heritage Site.

According to various media, the mining prohibition was prompted by the Colombian government's alleged desire to declare certain municipalities in the departments of Valle del Cauca, Caldas, Quindio, and Risasalda as part of the Colombian "Cultural Coffee Landscape" (PCC), which assures a degree of cultural, social, and natural protection of the area. UNESCO recommended that the Colombian government stop all mining activity in the principle and surrounding areas of the PCC.

The recommendation largely resulted from the concerns of tourism agents and promoters in the area who are looking to obtain the PCC title in order to increase tourism to the coffee growing regions. Their belief is that mining exploitation and coffee cultivation are not compatible activities and should not be carried out in the same area.

However, in the department of Quindio, a large part of the land had already been authorized to carry out mining projects, but the local government objects.

"In Quindio, we don't want mining," Quindio Governor Julio Cesar Lopez told Santos.

The department of Quindio has asked for a secondary regulation that will be capable of controlling mining projects in the area so that they can still pursue sustainability and be given credit as being a PCC of Colombia.

In response, Santos said that "we will permit responsible mining in areas where there is no threat to destroy important cultural heritages, like (coffee cultivation) and other areas that we deem important."

Cultural Vice-Minister Maria Claudia Lopez explained that the plan to sustain the Colombian PCC will be formulated and put into action by the end of 2011. The goal to have it ready is December 31 and it will be a collaboration between the Colombian Ministry of Culture, the National Federation of Coffee Cultivators, with support from the Ministries of the Environment, Agriculture, Trade, and the four departments' local governments.

Colombia´s Coffee Cultural Landscape proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site

25 June 2011

"The Coffee Cultural Landscape of Colombia (PCC) is not merely a scenario: it's an institution that has developed improvements regarding production and coffee producers' quality of life; a tradition that has managed to make history, always aware of developing a better product day to day," said Nuria Sanz, Head of the Latin America and Caribbean unit of the UNESCO World Heritage Center.

The PCC was declared a World Heritage Site during the 35th session of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Committee, held this year in Paris from June 19 to June 29. The PCC´s area is made up of 4 departments divided in 47 municipalities, where about 24,000 coffee farms are located and an estimate of 80,000 people live.

Headed by the Colombian Ministry of Culture and the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC), the project required the involvement of a number of academic institutions that also performed the required research and socialization processes to justify the inscription. The results of the investigations were described by UNESCO as a model worth following for future productive and cultural landscapes.

A symbol of sustainability to coffee areas worldwide, this site has been able to adapt to natural and geographical features unique in the world. The institutions that coffee growers created throughout the years, which include Coffee Coops, Coffee Growers Committees elected by their peers under the Federation, and world class research entities such as Cenicafe have built a unique social capital around coffee, which UNESCO endorsed as an exceptional value to be reckoned with. These are some of the reasons why Coffee Cultural Landscape of Colombia (PCC) was recently proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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