Canadian Ambassador says foreign investment and sustainable development goals should be linked in Colombia

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Marianick Tremblay, the Canadian Ambassador to Colombia, has tweeted: “Canadian foreign investment must not only be a source of quality capital and work for host countries, but must also contribute to achieving sustainable development goals.”

The United Nations has explained: “The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.”

The sustainable development goals include SDG 16, Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.

In its overview, the UN links this SDG with the safety of human rights defenders.

The UN highlights: “In 2020, the killings of 331 human rights defenders were reported in 32 countries, an 18% increase from 2019.”

Front Line Defenders, the organization that documented those 331 killings, notes that 177 of those deaths were in Colombia.

Their report further notes: “2020 witnessed a rise in the level of violence directed against HRDs in Colombia, particularly those participating in the implementation of the peace process and engaging in voluntary drug crop eradication initiatives or those opposing the aggressive extraction of natural resources.”

That latter point about extractivism connects back to Canadian investment in Colombia, including in mining, oil and gas operations, and hydroelectric dams.

Those sectors also connect with SDG 13 Climate Action.

For instance, David R. Boyd, a University of British Columbia law professor who is also the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment called on the Colombian government earlier this year to pass legislation to prohibit fracking.

Meanwhile, Calgary-based Canacol Energy Ltd. and Parex Resources Inc. along with Toronto-based Sintana Energy Ltd. appear to be interested in the commercial potential of fracking in Colombia beyond the preliminary pilot projects.

Additionally the Escazu Agreement relates to both SDG 13 and SDG 16, given the threats experienced by Colombian land and environmental rights defenders, notably those who have spoken against fracking in the Magdalena Medio region.

The German, Swedish and Norwegian ambassadors to Colombia have already urged the Colombian government to ratify the Escazu Agreement highlighting it “would send a very important political signal.”

And Canada’s Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Leslie E. Norton, has told the UN Human Rights Council: “Canada wants to stress important milestones such as the Escazu Regional Agreement in Latin America and the Caribbean.”

To date, the Colombian government has not ratified Escazu.

The Canadian Embassy emphasizing the importance of the Escazu Agreement and expressing caution about fracking would be seem consistent with the Ambassador’s message in support of advancing the sustainable development goals in Colombia.

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