Colombia River Stories: Letter to Minister Murillo


On 28 August 2018, ABColombia, joint with the University of Glasgow and the Chocó River Stories Project Team wrote a letter to the Colombian Minister of the Environment, Luis Gilberto Murillo, regarding the situation in the Atrato River in Chocó. In the letter, four key questions around the approach and methods that underpin the Environmental Action Plan were identified, and suggestions on how to improve on these were outlined, highlighting the need to ensure that experiences and lessons learned from previous similar projects will be considered in efforts to devise an effective plan and avoiding possible pitfalls.

[Download the full letter in English by clicking on the button below.]

Dear Minister Murillo,

Following the very useful meeting that we had with you in August 2017 we have continued to be closely involved with the Guardianes del Atrato, civil society organisations and universities working on the implementation of Constitutional Court decision T-622. We have received funding from the Newton Caldas Fund, Economic Social Research Council and Colciencias to continue our work with the riverine communities on the Rio Atrato and its Tributaries and we look forward to working more with your office in the coming years.

As we mentioned to you in the meeting, we have brought together a group of experts from three UK Universities who have global experience of working on the recuperation and restoration of rivers that have been contaminated, as well as the social, political and economic effects of protracted conflict and illicit economic activities. We have put this expertise at the service of this project. As a result, the communities have sent the documents on the baseline study and Environmental Action Plan.

We would therefore like to share with you our thinking on the plans in an effort to ensure that what we have learnt from our experience on other similar projects will be of use to you and help your efforts to devise an effective plan and avoiding the pitfalls that we know can occur.

Below we identify four key questions around the approach and methods that underpin these documents and offer three recommendations that could improve them.