Forestry policies, institutions and programmes


The country¿s forestry policy was adopted in 1996 through document 2.834 of the National Council for Economic and Social Planning and has the general objective of ¿achieving sustainable use of forests in order to conserve them, consolidate the incorporation of the forestry sector into the national economy and improve the population¿s standard of living¿. The guiding principles of the policy are as follows:

  • Forests are one of the country¿s strategic resources, an integral part of and support for biological diversity, so that knowledge of them and their management is a vital responsibility for the State, with the support of civil society.
  • Sustainable forest development is a joint, coordinated task of the State, the local community and the private sector.
  • Sustainable harvesting of forest resources is a strategy for forest conservation and requires an enabling environment for investment.
  • Most of the country¿s forest areas are inhabited and the local inhabitants¿ rights must be respected.
  • Scientific research is vital with a view to achieving sustainable development of the sector.
  • Planted forests and agroforest systems play a fundamental role in producing energy and industrial raw materials, maintaining ecological processes and generating employment, and also in the country¿s socio-economic development, and should therefore be promoted.
  • The national policy will be implemented at the regional level, taking the specific features of each region into account.
The forestry policy sets the following specific objectives:
  • a reduction in deforestation by coordinating and refocusing intersectoral policies;
  • promotion of reforestation and the rehabilitation and conservation of forests in order to restore catchment areas and degraded soils;
  • enforcement and rationalization of administrative processes for the sustainable use of forests;
  • addressing of the cultural, social and economic problems that give rise to deforestation.
In 1999 Colombia started the process of formulating a National Forest Development Plan with a view to implementing the forestry policy promulgated in 1996. This plan was intended as a mechanism to facilitate adoption of the various recommendations for forest-related action and coordinate national initiatives concerning sustainable forest management. The National Forest Development Plan was approved by the National Council for Economic and Social Planning in March 2001 and is now being implemented.

The Interinstitutional Forestry Policy Advisory Committee was created through Decree 2173 of 1996 to coordinate implementation of policies concerned with the forestry subsector.

The Ministry of the Environment was created in 1993 as recommended in the National Forestry Action Plan, which was coordinated by FAO. There are also 34 autonomous regional corporations entrusted with implementing environmental policy, with five research institutes to support them with environmental expertise, and the National Environment System, a network coordinating all the initiatives and bodies working in this field.

The National Environment Council, set up in 1993, carries out public-level coordination of policies, plans and programmes. As was mentioned above, the Forestry Policy Advisory Committee was set up in 1996 under the Ministry of the Environment and acts as an advisory body, also coordinating implementation of forestry-sector policies and guaranteeing the right of participation of the main public- and private-sector stakeholders.

Law 101 of 1993 ¿ the General Law on Agricultural, Livestock and Fishery Development ¿ assigned responsibility for formulating policies on reforestation and forest industry activities to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Within the framework of this ministry¿s policies, the National Forestry Research and Promotion Corporation has the task of generating the technology needed to establish plantations and promote sustainable forest management.

Last updated: July 2001

last updated:  Friday, February 19, 2010