“2020 will be essential for the life of the Santurbán páramo”: Erwing Rodríguez-Salah

Published by Brent Patterson on

In this Razon Publica article, environmental civic leader Erwing Rodríguez-Salah comments, “2020 will be essential for the life of the Santurbán páramo and the millions of inhabitants of Greater Santander, since this year the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development (MADS) must issue a new delimitation of the moor.”

The páramo provides drinking water for 2 million people in Colombia.

Rodríguez-Salah has previously explained in Razon Publica, “The delimitation of the Santurbán páramo made by the Santos government in 2014 [through Resolution 2090] was the result of interest in facilitating mining activities, and not in protecting the water that the region needs for its life and development.”

“Therefore, under the leadership of the Luis Carlos Pérez Lawyers Collective [CCALCP], in July 2015 we filed a guardianship action against the Ministry of Environment. The guardianship was ruled by the Constitutional Court in judgment T-361 of 2017. There, the Court considered that Resolution 2090 violated our right to environmental participation and demanded from the Government a new delimitation of the Santurbán páramo.”

At the time of the ruling, CCALCP lawyer Julia Figueroa said that T-361 “becomes a precedent in favour of the claims set forth in the guardianship and strengthens the interventions that will be made before the Constitutional Court in our purpose that will generate legal, constitutional and material protection of our Páramo de Santurbán.”

Rodríguez-Salah now notes, “In [President Ivan] Duque’s time, the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development requested very short extensions to issue the new delimitation of the moor: the first for eight months (which expired on July 16), and the second for five additional months (which expired on December 18).”

“This year the meetings of the consultation phase with the communities will begin, within the process of the new delimitation of Santurbán.”

The Peace Brigades International-Colombia Project accompanied CCALCP at a consultation on the delimitation of Santurbán in Bucaramanga on May 26, 2019.

Rodríguez-Salah also highlights, “A new express and deceptive delimitation of Santurbán will bring an avalanche of legal actions against the administrative acts issued by the State entities that, paradoxically, have become the main threat against our waters and wastelands.”

The Peace Brigades International-Colombia Project has commented, “The moor is an important natural resource for Colombia and the source of drinking water for many municipalities in the department of Santander and North Santander.”

Additionally, the Comité Santurbán has tweeted that a major Caravan March in defence of páramos will take place in Bogota on March 16 of this year.

PBI-Colombia has accompanied CCALCP since 2006.

PBI-Colombia and PBI-Canada co-organized a speaking tour in Canada with CCALCP and CREDHOS in November 2019 where key environmental concerns were raised, including the protection of the Santurbán páramo.

For more, please see Vancouver-based Eco Oro sues Colombia for $764 million through the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement.

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