Multi Annual Programme 2006-2010 Mid Term Evaluation
Colombia Program Evaluation
Carlos R. Costa Posada
1. General Impression.
“Continuity, quality and heart is what defines the work of Tropenbos Colombia”
Carlos Castaño Uribe, Vice minister of Environment.
There is a generalized support for the work undertaken by Tropenbos in Colombia.Every person interviewed during this evaluation expressed their admiration for the innovative and unique contribution that Tropenbos has provided for the work with indigenous communities and conservation of the Amazon forest and recently, the Pacific Forest. This includes the Viceministers of Environment and Culture, the head of the National Parks Agency, the heads of the National Research Institutesfor Biodiversity and for the Amazonia, officials from the Ministry of Education, Colciencias (the National Research Agency), professors from several Universities and heads of major national and international environmental NGOs working in Colombia.
Direct beneficiaries, represented by leaders of indigenous communities and scholarships beneficiaries feel positively impacted by Tropenbos. Theyfeel better professionals and stronger communities, but above all they feel optimistic, they fill that they can make a difference and that they are doing it.
All interviewed institutions also identified a direct and indirect impact of Tropenbos in national policy, either through staff within the organization that belongs to the Tropenbos alumni network, through conversations, information,publication or assisting to presentations, or through undertaking projects together.
Tropenbos is recognized as generator of very unique research, knowledge and information, but more than that, it is recognized for developing a successful methodological approach to work with indigenous communities and traditional knowledge in the context of sustainable management of natural resources of tropicalforests.
During the last five years, Tropenbos has put in place a strategy to expand its impact, disseminate its knowledge and contribute directly in public policymaking. This strategy consists in partnering with public and private institutions for the implementation of projects with national impact.
It has also proved effective for the Dutch cooperation by coordinating two large Dutch grantfunded projects. Over EU$11 million invested in strengthening governance and productive alternatives in the Amazon in partnership with the National Parks Agency and others; and in capacity building for environmental management and sustainable productive chains in partnership with SENA (National Technical Training Agency )
In conclusion, Tropenbos has grown from producing local research in theAmazon, into an organization which is expanding its presence in the country, through a strategy of working in partnerships with strong public and civil institutions to research and enhance the use of traditional knowledge for the sustainable management of natural resources. Along the way it has influenced public policy making, not only in the environment sector but also in the culture sector andmost recently the education sector. It has a promising future, and taking into account its involvement in a tri-national GEF funded project this future is not only at home.
2. Relevance of Mission, Strategy and Priorities
2.1. Relevance to Global, National and Local Beneficiaries and Policy Makers
According TBI’s web page, the main objective of Tropenbos-Colombia is to “build a bridgebetween local traditional knowledge and scientific knowledge to improve Amazon policy, legislation and decision making”.
Both subject and location of work are of global relevance. The global environmental importance of the Colombian Amazon has been largely documented in terms of forest, biodiversity and mitigation of Climate Change. But recently, it has gained even more relevance since most...