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Ecotourism in Colombian Peacebuilding: Peace, Conflict and Environmental Justice

Luis Fernando Sánchez Supelano
Traduction de Artha Translation
Cet article est une traduction de :
Ecoturismo en la construcción de paz en Colombia: acuerdo de paz, conflictividad y justicia ambiental [es]
Autre(s) traduction(s) de cet article :
L’écotourisme dans la consolidation de la paix en Colombie : accord de paix, conflit et justice écologique [fr]


With the aim of demonstrating the tensions faced in the implementation of ecotourism projects in Colombia, this paper discusses the role of armed conflict in the generation of environmental conflict in Colombia, and the way in which this has been increasing in recent years due to the arrival of new actors across different territories. Next, some of the contents of the peace agreement which impact ecotourism are reviewed in order to form a conclusion based on the need to adopt an approach based on environmental justice in the implementation of ecotourism, as a means of creating appropriate respect for environmental limits and the rights of the communities involved.

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1This article addresses the discussion around ecotourism as an alternative means of peacebuilding in the context of implementing the peace agreement in Colombia, based on a review of existing documentary sources and an analysis of environmental conflict which considers the conceptual developments of environmental justice and human rights from a comprehensive perspective. This will be investigated in order to demonstrate some of the tensions which arise in the application of the peace agreement and the commitment to ecotourism, in terms of offering alternatives means of development and meeting the basic needs of the population.

2As such, the text is structured into four main sections addressing these ideas. The first section demonstrates how armed conflict has engendered significant environmental conflict throughout Colombia, and has affected territories which are now seen as places where ecotourism projects are expected to be developed. From this same perspective, the second section highlights how Colombia is a country with growing environmental conflict, precisely as a result of the increasing pressures of new economic actors, including tourism, which disagree on the means of accessing, using or distributing environmental and natural assets. In the third section, some of the contents of the peace agreement signed between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—People’s Army (FARC-EP) are discussed from the perspective of the environment and rights, before highlighting the opportunities and provisions set forth in the agreement for peacebuilding across the country, and which serve as contextual elements for discussion surrounding the implementation of ecotourism projects. Finally, the fourth section explores the discussion of ecotourism within a post-agreement context.

3In terms of methodology, this study is based principally on a qualitative approach and the documentary review of official Colombian State texts prepared between 2014 to 2017. In this respect, documents created by the National Planning Department, the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, and the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development were considered, in which the effects of the armed conflict in Colombia are established, in both territorial and environmental terms. Similarly, documents in which the dynamics of tourism sector growth and the main strategies designed to boost this were analysed and presented. This exercise allows for the main crossovers and points of articulation to be systematised and extracted, between the expectations of tourism sector development for Colombia and the contextual conditions of implementation in terms of the territory.

4Moving on to a second point of discussion, the main dynamics of environmental conflict surrounding the demands for participation and profit distribution are identified, based on the analysis of environmental conflict in Colombia, and in particular that developed by the Global Atlas of Environmental Justice and the Observatory of Environmental Conflicts of the National University of Colombia’s Institute of Environmental Studies, combined with a review of the Taganga case (Santa Marta, Colombia). Finally, through analysis of the peace agreement signed between the FARC-EP and the Colombian government, those aspects which impact the development of ecotourism are identified thematically. This is studied in order to identify state strategies and the way in which these are articulated in the solution of environmental conflicts and the satisfaction of the basic needs of people. The study is then concluded in establishing some critical comments, in order to substantiate the need to include an approach based on environmental justice.

I. Armed conflict as a catalyst for environmental conflict1

  • 1 Environmental conflicts arise from unjustified appropriation of the environment or that which is ca (...)

5From an environmental concept such as the interaction of social and natural indissoluble elements, environmental conflicts may be defined as conflicts surrounding the use, access, distribution or exchange of environmental assets. At the same time, however, they may be constituted around the definition of rules which regulate our relationship with nature and the ways in which the conceptualisation and foundation of said relationship is understood (Mesa Cuadros G., 2011).

  • 2 In developing this study, the "environment" has been understood in the sense of a dynamic system de (...)
  • 3 This text makes reference to environmental assets as the set of elements which make up the environm (...)

6However, the relations between armed conflict and the environment2 are multiple and complex; on the one hand, the environment has been linked as a cause of armed conflict - the fight for the control of environmental and natural assets and environmental changes which alter social conditions (Westing, 1986; Homer-Dixon, 1999; Afriansyah, 2013; Rodríguez Garavito, Rodríguez Franco, & Durán Crane, 2017) - but also as the context in which armed conflict develops. In this sense, the environmental impact of wars or the restrictions implied in terms of restriction of access and use of certain environmental assets3 (Clossmann, 2009; Hagmann T. 2005) are highlighted; and finally, the relationship between the post-conflict context and the environment is noted - in terms of the liabilities and debts left by wars and the pressures generated on the environment within societies attempting to move on from armed conflict(Conca & Wallace, 2009) (Renner, 1992).

7The impact of armed conflict ranges from the loss of biodiversity, the loss of plant cover, the destruction of the soil and of entire ecosystems, with effects which extend far beyond current generations of humans, flora and fauna. This demonstrates the fundamental incompatibility between war and nature (Broswimmer, 2007; Renner, 1992). In Colombia, armed conflict has an embedded relationship with the dispute for control of the environment and of environmental and natural assets. In this way, the territorial incidence of armed conflict is related to environmental degradation. According to the National Planning Department (DNP), from 1990 to 2013 there were around 5.2 million hectares of deforestation, of which 58% has occurred in municipalities with high and very high incidences of conflict. Similarly, of the 13.4 million hectares where there is overuse of the land due to agricultural and forestry activities, 46% takes place in municipalities with high and very high incidences of armed conflict (DNP, 2015; Cárdenas & Rodríguez, 2004).

8In the same way, the relationship between deforestation and the presence of coca crops during the years 2000 to 2013 shows that for each hectare of coca planted in municipalities with high and very high incidences of conflict, 1.7 hectares are deforested (DNP, 2015). The area of coca cultivation in the National Natural Parks has varied between 4% and 8% of the total cultivated area in the country over the last 10 years (UNPNN, 2015). In 2013, 3,791 hectares of coca were identified in the National System of Protected Areas (SINAP)(ONUDD, 2014). The illegal mining of minerals associated with armed conflict generates significant impact on ecosystems and on their environmental and natural assets. From 2010 to 2014, it was found that about half of all municipalities in the country had been affected by this problem, involving approximately two thousand water sources (DNP, 2015).  In 2010, 86% of gold produced in the country came from illegal mining, which uses mercury and devastates protection zones in the areas (MADS; UNEP, 2012). In 2013, approximately 58.7 tonnes of gold were produced in mines unauthorised at the time of said mining. (DNP, 2015)

9The country’s water sources have also been affected by the destruction of pipelines associated with the armed conflict. In the last 35 years, the hydrocarbon transport infrastructure operated by Ecopetrol has been attacked 2,575 times, spilling 4.1 million barrels of oil (DNP, 2015; DNP, 2015b): between 2009-2015, 756,700 barrels of petrol were spilt(DNP, 2015). At the same time, however, it has been recognised that some of these impacts are related to the material conditions of people’s lives and the satisfaction of their basic needs. For example, the Colombian Constitutional Court indicated that the activities involved in illegal mining and crops for illicit use are related to "the isolated conditions of the state’s provisions, institutional precarity, low accessibility conditions and governance failures" (Constitutional Court Judgement C 644 of 2017).

  • 4 In this way, it can be summarised that from the perspective of environmental justice, injustices ar (...)

10In this way, it can be concluded that armed conflict in Colombia has two distinct environmental meanings, of which we can highlight at least three dimensions: a) as the generator of significant environmental liabilities, b) as a force for the initiation and deepening of environmental conflicts and injustices4 and c) as the cause of the conflict and, in turn, the means to overcome armed conflict.

11However, the transition from war to peace does not imply the elimination of environmental conflict; on the contrary, it results in challenges of a different nature, which include at least three variables: a) the question of what to do with environmental damages left by armed conflict, which may be understood as environmental liabilities, b) what to do with the military sector in terms of controlling the impact caused by the military industry and military activities, in general terms and, c) once the temporary discussions of armed conflict have been overcome, how can a societal project be reconstructed which includes sustainability criteria? In this last dimension, it should be recalled that often the end of armed conflict implies an increase in pressure to exploit environmental assets under the pretext of guaranteeing the "economic sustainability of peace"(Conca & Wallace, 2009).

12If these challenges are managed correctly, they may create a solid foundation for peace and sustainability; mishandled, however, there is a risk of undermining the, already weak, existing peace (Conca & Wallace, 2009; Bustos & Jaramillo, 2016). Therefore, armed conflict is a factor which causes serious damage to the environment, and yet it is also true that in the absence of wars or armed conflict, pressure on the environment does not diminish (in some cases it simply transforms), in the sense that the context of transition from armed conflict to a peacebuilding situation may invoke an emergence of new environmental pressures. This may be witnessed in the easing of environmental rules or the reduction of environmental protection standards, which in some cases transform from proposing limits on the unjustified and illegitimate appropriation of the environment, to offering broad authorisation for such appropriation (Mesa Cuadros G., 2015).

II. Colombia: a country with growing environmental conflict

  • 5 The obligations of the State with regard to environmental protection may be summarised into four ov (...)

13In particular, it should be noted that in the case of Colombia, there has been an exponential increase in environmental conflict connected with economic activities such as mining, hydrocarbon exploitation, the increase in road infrastructure, agriculture carried out with no sustainability criteria, and the illegal trade of flora and fauna, amongst others, which come together in the contamination and degradation of the environment and its components, such as water, soil, air and the country’s flora and fauna, without the state fulfilling its obligations5 (Comptroller General of the Republic, 2013, pp. 140-142). In fact, the Environmental Justice Organisations, Liabilities and Trade (a project financed by the European Commission) identified more than 100 environmental conflicts in the country, which renders Colombia the country with the most environmental conflicts in Latin America(EJOLT, 2017).

14Cases such at the events which arose with resolution 286 of 2016 - in which an environmental licence was granted to Hupecol Operating Co LLC to carry out oil exploration activities near the Macarena (Meta) sector, very close to the Caño Cristales nature reserve, and which had to be revoked only days after its issuance - demonstrate the risks some environmental ecosystems face with regard to new investments in areas where armed conflict had traditionally prevented capital inflows. This is combined with the government’s commitment to the development of extractive industries. According to data from the National Development Plan (2018 - 2022), from September 2018 onwards the country registered 8,635 mining authorisations. With regard to hydrocarbons, between 2010 and 2018, the ANH allocated 159 areas for technical, exploration and exploitation evaluation. As of June 2018, the country has registered 326 current concession contracts concerning hydrocarbons (DNP, 2019). In this regard, a double phenomenon is produced: on the one hand, the country sees the arrival of new foreign investment, while at the same time, new environmental conflicts are engendered.

15Furthermore, environmental conflicts involving territorial planning can also be witnessed in recent cases of consultations against mining and hydrocarbons in municipalities such as Cajamarca, Cabrera, Cumaral, Onzaga, Ibagué; or discussions which have provoked processes of delimitation of ecosystems which are essential for life - the páramos, for example - which demonstrates that the post-conflict situation is not free of environmental conflict.

16That said, it is important to highlight how Colombia’s environmental conflict extends beyond armed conflict and is combined with the need to achieve structural transformations in order to meet the basic needs of the population. In fact, as recognised by the Colombian Constitutional Court itself, as far as the implementation of the agreement is concerned, "two phenomena of high environmental sensitivity have been produced: on the one hand, the processes of deforestation and degradation of natural ecosystems have been accelerated due to the few economic alternatives available to the inhabitants of these areas; and, on the other hand, an increase of illicit crops have been generated in various regions of Colombia, particularly with regard to coca cultivation. This demonstrates that, at this stage of transition in the recomposition of territorial power, threats to strategic ecosystems have been heightened" (Constitutional Court, Judgement C - 644 of 2017).

17However, the context of the implementation of the peace agreements reached between guerrillas and the Colombian government invokes a need for reflection on the model for the country’s development and the construction of a new form of relationship with the environment, which allows for stable and durable peacebuilding. This implies at least three very important elements: a) the consolidation of state institutions which allow for needs of the population to be met and which, at the same time, exercise effective control over activities which damage the environment; b) the consolidation of economic alternatives for the populations which suffered the most from armed conflict, to prevent these from being co-opted by illegal economies (mining, logging or illegal crops); and c) the establishment of a model for territorial environmental planning which sets clear limits for the appropriation of the environment.

18According to the most recent bibliographic developments, we can identify three main major risk groups faced by Colombia in the transition from war to peace. The first risk, within a post-conflict context, relates to the foreseeable increase in applications for the development of economic activities within the territories in which entry has previously not been possible, due to armed conflict or under the promise of the resolution of social and economic post-conflict problems, which could in turn aggravate environmental conflicts. (Rodríguez Garavito, Rodríguez Franco, & Durán Crane, 2017)

19A second risk can be identified in the increase of demand for environmental assets from new populations arriving in the territories; on one hand, the victims returning to their homelands, and on the other, the ex-combatants, who require the necessary environment to meet their basic needs (Rodríguez Garavito, Rodríguez Franco, & Durán Crane, 2017), which must also provide the necessary infrastructure and investments in roads, public services and basic sanitation, etc.

20Another point which should be considered in the implementation of this agreement concerns the territorial realities of Colombia, characterised by the ecosystemic, social, cultural and territorial complexity (Carrizosa Umaña, 2014), the diverse territorial presence and the institutional strength of the State (García Villegas & Espinosa Restrepo, 2011). The cases of illegal mining, deforestation and environmental degradation in the Atrato River (Constitutional Court, Judgement T-622 of 2016) or the Dagua River (State Council, 2012) demonstrate the complexities of implementing environmental recovery and management measures in territories where state presence is weak and where armed groups outside of the law maintain a certain degree of territorial control including, for example, the National Liberation Army (ELN), the Popular Liberation Army (EPL), the Gaitanista Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (AGC) or the former structures of the FARC-EP Eastern bloc which have not recognised the peace process.

21As such, it can be affirmed that peacebuilding implies new environmental challenges for Colombia, in matters such as territorial environmental planning, the settlement of the resultant environmental liabilities, and the construction of an equitable society in terms of the enjoyment of environmental and natural assets, etc. (Mesa Cuadros G., 2015b; Mesa Cuadros et al., 2015c). Therefore, a Colombian environmental policy for the transition to a post-conflict situation must contain, amongst other focuses, the recognition of all Colombians as holders of environmental rights, capable of accessing the environment and its elements with dignity (e.g. water or cultivation land), and the guarantee of protection for the environment and its components as an indispensable requirement for coexistence and the transformation of conflicts(Mesa Cuadros G. , 2015b).

22This leads to two important conclusions for the discussion of tourism in general and, more specifically, ecotourism. On one hand, the projects to be implemented must face a context of growing social conflict resulting from disputes over the use of environmental assets, the pressures of extractive industries and the social demand for access to assets in order to meet basic needs. On the other hand, they must also contribute to peacebuilding in a transformative sense: that is to say, they should contribute to establishing new relationship pacts with the environment (establishing limits for environmental appropriation in terms of sustainability), and should contribute to the overcoming of the socio-economic conditions of exclusion present within the Colombian territory, in the sense that in Colombia there remain populations with a high index of unsatisfied basic needs.

III. Peace agreement: environment and post-conflict

23Environmental issues were not one of the main points of negotiation, and do not form part of the central components of the "final agreement for the end of conflict and stable and lasting peace" (hereinafter, the peace agreement), signed between the government of Colombia and FARC-EP. However, there is no doubt that the peace agreement will have a significant impact on the environment and its protection. Some important conclusions can be drawn, as the peace agreement addresses the environment and its protection in, at least, the following dimensions:

  1. As the purpose of "peacebuilding" (p. 5);

  2. As the aim of "comprehensive rural reform" (p. 18, 20, 32);

  3. In order to define the beneficiaries of the land allocation processes, as these may be those relocated for environmental protection reasons (p. 15);

  4. As an area in which democracy must be strengthened (p. 18);

  5. As an element that should be considered for appropriate reintegration of members of insurgency;

  6. As the aim of the Comprehensive National Program for the Substitution of Crops for Illicit Use;

  7. As a determining factor in the territorial approach (p.6);

  8. As one of the forms of sanction applicable to those who acknowledge comprehensive, detailed and full truth in the Chamber for the Acknowledgement of Truth and Responsibilities. Meanwhile, within the Special Jurisdiction of Peace’s sanctions regime a restorative component is included, which may be accomplished in developing environmental protection or decontamination actions;

  9. As a guarantee of non-repetition, while the effective implementation of environmental rights is conceptualised as a strategy to avoid the re-emergence of armed conflict (p. 188);

  • 6 Much emphasis has been placed on the economic returns of peace. Colombia spends approximately 3.4% (...)

24In this respect, the question of how the environmental issue is addressed within the peace agreements may be highlighted, based on several firm ideas. Firstly, environmental protection and conservation is an issue that must be taken into account in the application of the contents of the peace agreement6 - the environment is thought of as a limit to the actions which must be implemented in accordance with the agreement. Secondly, environmental issues are seen as an area in which democracy must be strengthened; and thirdly, they are seen as a factor which must be considered in the application of so-called restorative justice - as criteria for both reparation and sanction.

25Notwithstanding the foregoing, one of the contents which is expected to have the greatest effect on the environment and the improvement of conditions in this regard is related to point 1, "Comprehensive Rural Reform". This point of the Agreement contains multiple elements which, in the end, must be articulated with ideas of environmental protection and the establishment of limits for the appropriation of nature. Initially, this point of the agreement implies a restructuring of the ownership schemes in rural areas, and their uses.

26However, such restructuring of land tenure will involve intense discussion about how land uses have been structured and the establishment of protected areas, or those which require special environmental management. Indicating some of the elements which must be taken into account, the United Nations - in establishing some municipalities as priorities for the implementation of the agreements - has argued that, from a sample, 41 of the 47 high-priority municipalities in the post-agreement context have some form of protection (National Natural Parks and/or forest reserve), while within 17 of these municipalities, more than 50% of the area falls under these protections. Of 78 municipalities with medium-high priority, 59 have some form of protection and within 26, more than 50% of the area falls under these protections. In eight of the 125 prioritised municipalities, 100% of the area falls under some form of protection(ONU, 2014).

27Along the same lines, the Agreement implicitly raises the possibility of modifying some aspects of settlement in rural areas, by proposing the existence of settlement and resettlement programmes with the goal, among others, of protecting the environment, replacing illicit crops and strengthening food production. These activities are concentrated within a more general scope as a result of the closure of the agricultural frontier in which the existence of an environmental zoning plan is proposed, with the dual purpose of delimiting the agricultural frontier and updating and expanding the inventory, and establishing the use of the areas which must enjoy special environmental management. At an institutional level, there is a need to create a high-level agency, within the framework of the national government’s competencies, which would be responsible for the formulation of general guidelines oriented towards indicative planning of land use, in order to coordinate, articulate and reconcile sectoral policies, taking into account the nature of their vocation, the common good and the territorial visions of rural development constructed within participation initiatives.

28The previous measure would be accompanied by the creation of territorial development plans, regional transformation action plans and national plans for comprehensive rural reform, which would be created in addition to other currently-existing planning structures. To these initiatives, resettlement programmes or community recovery programmes for forests and other elements of the environment should be added, which are compatible with and contribute to the objective of closing the agricultural frontier and the goal of environmental conservation, developed as part of implementing the agreement. Therefore, the peace agreement involves a thorough review of environmental territorial planning, which would, in turn, result in the identification of uses compatible with the responsible use of the environment, in order to strengthen community organisational bodies.

29In tandem with the foregoing, the peace agreement reinforces the idea of civil society participation in the establishment of land use decisions within the rural area - strengthening those existing instruments - in the need to create spaces "of agreement and social dialogue between the National, Region and Local Governments" (Peace Agreement, 2016, p. 18). This is consistent with the provisions of the agreement regarding political participation, based on the consideration that the building and consolidation of peace, as part of the end of conflict, "requires democratic expansion" and "[to] ensure that citizen participation, in the discussion of development plans, public policies and, in general, the issues that concern the community, has an effective impact."

30Therefore, with regard to the rural aspect of the contents of the Agreement, deep reflection is made necessary on at least three mutually conditioned variables: territorial planning, the development models implemented within the territories, and certain participation mechanisms to solve conflicts deriving from the use of the territory and the economic projects developed therein. The success or failure of post-agreement peacebuilding depends on how these three issues are resolved.

31Similarly, the agreement includes the obligation to strengthen institutional designs and methodologies to facilitate citizen participation and to ensure its effectiveness in the formulation of public policy on various topics, including environmental issues, which would go hand in hand with the actions carried out for the development of a democratic and participatory political culture. Some additional components are provided for in the way in which a special mechanism will be created for the attention, processing and follow-up of complaints and alerts from citizens, organisations and movements regarding possible acts of corruption: the State’s commitment to review the functions and the structure of the Territorial Planning Councils, in order to, among other things, expand citizen participation in the formulation of development plans and in the monitoring of their performance evaluation, and to make the necessary regulatory adjustments for the concepts, declarations and monitoring reports, carried out by participatory planning initiatives and which will be responded to by public authorities in the spaces and initiatives for dialogue and discussion.

32In this way, the agreement opens the door to discussion by establishing the need to create mechanisms to deal with conflicts deriving from the application of development projects and by advocating for a strengthening of democracy in decision-making - including of environmental issues -, although it does not commit to a particular formula nor an obligation for a certain desired level of participation in the implementation of agreements.

IV. Tourism and peacebuilding: the need for an approach based on environmental justice

33As peacebuilding implies discussions deeper than the mere implementation of what has been agreed upon, this should lead to overcoming reductionism, and understanding and projecting the specifications of the agreements, taking into account the complexity, globality, systematicity, integrality and interdependencies between its multiple dimensions.

34Peace must achieve significant transformations within the country’s territories and move towards more equitable rural development, closing socio-economic gaps and guaranteeing the rights of the entire population. Achieving these purposes necessarily implies promoting and strengthening policies relating to: (i) the generation of income and productive agricultural, non-agricultural, tourism and cultural projects; (ii) the guarantee of social rights with a territorial and differential approach to equal opportunities (food security, culture, health, education, social security, mechanisms for the protection of the elderly, housing, drinking water and sanitation); (iii) regional roads, connectivity and public assets for peace; and (iv) land and rural property management (multipurpose land registry and modern territorial organisation plans) (DNP, 2015)

35It is in this regard that ecological tourism has been posited as an alternative for the development and building of peace, in which it can be seen as a vision with two main aspects. On the one hand, the institutional framework views it as an element to be taken into account in order to provide the economic alternatives and means to carry out sustainable use of biodiversity(DNP, 2017), interpreting it as a tool for the building and strengthening of a culture of peace, which contributes at the same time to the economic and social development of the regions(MICT, 2016).

36According to the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, in the first four months of 2017, foreign tourism in Colombia grew by 43.1% in comparison with the same period in the year before. Between January and April of 2017, Colombia received 1,987,989 travellers: 598,685 more than in the same period of 2016. According to statements from the Minister of Commerce, "the post-conflict period is one of the great advantages from which tourism benefits today in Colombia: we begin by improving the image, showing a peaceful Colombia and a Colombia which has new opportunities, new destinations and new tourist products which can be reached, can be enjoyed and which demonstrate a comparative advantage over other countries" (MICT, 2017b)

37But at the same time, it is viewed with mistrust by some social and community sectors (for example, the Chinchorreros de Taganga Fisheries Corporation faced with tourism in Santa Marta), for at least two reasons. Poorly controlled tourism may have a serious impact on the most important ecosystems of the country (unsurprisingly, in the case of Tayrona National Park, uncontrolled tourism is one of the 9 main causes of environmental deterioration in this important ecosystem) and as such, the National Parks of Colombia Unit highlights that:

"misdirected tourism causes a series of direct impacts on the ecosystem, such as the mismanagement of solid waste, soil compaction and widening of paths, visual contamination by scratches on rocks and trees, extraction and movement of flora and fauna due to the presence of visitors and impacts on the reef when stepping on coral formations and due to the arrival of ships in authorised areas. The park’s high rate of visitors has encouraged the creation of irregular human settlements with a lack of basic services for the population, which leads to the destruction or modification of the coastline and adjacent ecosystems through urbanisation; a high consumption and waste of water is generated, and the use of shells for crafts. Deepening other local problems, such as wastewater discharges and loss of vegetation cover, amongst others." (PNN, 2015)

38Currently, Colombian regulations define Ecotourism as the specialised and sustainable tourism modality focused on raising awareness of the value of protected System Areas, through recreation activities such as observation, sport and culture, contributing to the achievement of their conservation objectives and the generation of social and economic opportunities for local and regional populations. Meanwhile, the Services associated with ecotourism are defined as those for the attention of the visitor who carries out ecotourism activities in the areas of the Parks System, such as accommodation, transport, food, guidance and interpretation of natural heritage (Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, resolution 531 of 2013).

39However, despite these conceptualisations, it is important to question this idea, insofar as Ecotourism, in its practical materialisations (especially when it becomes immense or connected to associated services which are highly harmful to the environment), cannot always be characterised as economic activity which is consistent, responsible or conservationist with regard to the environment or the careful use thereof. Therefore, we must consider the specific aspects of this type of labelling and, ultimately, specify if it is possible to speak of real, sustainable "ecotourism". As such, it is possible to identify practices labelled ecotourism, but which are in fact not, as they are associated with productive activities that require, in order to be economically viable and profitable, indiscriminate and exaggerated of natural resources.

  • 7 A population bordering the Tayrona National Park

40It has been recognised that tourism may bring significant social and economic impacts, as evidenced in cases such as that of Taganga Bay7. In these situations, impacts produced include: community disintegration, the loss of territorial control by traditional communities and the displacement or loss of access to natural assets required for the satisfaction of basic needs, among others.

41Put simply, tourism in the area was deployed in an accelerated and disorganised manner. The introduction of tourism simultaneously brought unfavourable elements with incidents affecting social cohesion and the environment. It for this reason that, today, the sustainability of this activity is called into question, alongside tourism’s contribution to economic benefits received by the local communities. These are considered in terms of the generation of employment and income, the inequality of income distribution, the concentration of property, and the valuation and use of cultural heritage in tourism services. Furthermore, the impacts generated for natural resources through different kinds of pollution are considered (Figuero Cabas, 2011).

42The negative effects associated with tourism are related to the growth in informal activities; the generation of low-skilled and low-income employment; the deterioration of the atmosphere; disorganised urban growth; the degradation of the environment and beaches; the loss of local identity and the displacement of other traditional sectors such as fishing; the increase of drug addiction in the youth population and of prostitution, and the generation of higher volumes of solid waste (Figuero Cabas, 2011). This is particularly relevant in the places in which "Services associated with ecotourism", as Colombian regulations refer to them, are provided, and so it is appropriate to more fully analyse ecotourism activity according to value chain logics.

43The environmental impacts caused by tourism are of varying magnitude and affect ecosystems and the environment in general in different ways. Tourism development in the area has had a negative impact on the integrity and conservation of fragile environmental and natural assets, such as soils, vegetation, fauna, landscape and forests: precisely the resources which are crucial for the sustainable development of tourism, as well as in order to guarantee the quality of life of local residents (Figuero Cabas, 2011).

44Under these conditions, tourism activities will not have an impact on economic development, the improvement of quality of life and the social welfare of the local population, unless they are developed on the basis of comprehensive tourism management and planning, for the rational use of resources and, fundamentally, if it is possible to create and consolidate a culture of excellence in the provision of tourism services which respond to the new requirements of the demand (Figuero Cabas, 2011).

45From this perspective, the development of future tourism projects should promote an effective link between the receiving communities, in economic, social and environmental terms, with the local and regional tourism dynamic in such a way that it may contribute directly to the satisfaction of basic needs. In this way, and following the argument of Gómez Tobón (2002), the future of tourism must be conceived at a ground level, forged with the direct commitment of the interested parties and developed showing results which generate belonging, possess demonstrative capacity and stimulate the initiative.

46Notwithstanding the foregoing, the contribution of tourism with regards to peace was recognised several years ago. In particular, this relationship has been recognised in highlighting how tourism can become a key factor in economic and social development (understood as satisfying the basic needs of the population). In this sense, tourism has great economic potential, in terms of the opportunity to create employment and income, which can generate an empowerment of the population which results in a reduction in violence and conflict. It is also argued that one contribution of tourism in peacebuilding is the construction of a culture of peace, insofar as it allows for a better understanding of the other to be obtained, thus aiding in the construction of a culture for the prevention of conflict.

47If we consider the inequalities and misunderstandings which may exist within a society, the development of tourism as a productive activity which benefits all members of a society may contribute to the generation of spaces for dialogue which allow for the unsatisfied needs of the population to be understood in such a way that it becomes possible to reach a peaceful situation. In this way, tourism is conceived not only as an exclusively economic activity, but as a sociological activity and one of ecosystem conservation, and therefore becomes a powerful development tool within a multidimensional perspective of peace. To that extent, development managed from within these same communities should be considered a priority for the undertaking of projects across the various regions.

48However, when considering the relationship of tourism, the post-conflict situation and peace, one must proceed responsibly and with caution, and work must be carried out to ensure that no restricted territories exist, while at the same time the emergence of new forms of conflict must be avoided. The conversion of tourism into a comprehensive development strategy which assumes a multidimensional nature is relevant, as it contributes to reducing the gaps which have historically been forged in conflict zones and in such a way that it may become a means of bringing peace to the territories.

49More specifically, it is because of this dichotomy presented by tourism as an alternative means of peacebuilding that is necessary for criteria of environmental justice to be observed in, at least,

50three dimensions: a) the distribution of burdens and benefits, among the various subjects of the territories and over time, b) the way in which decisions are taken, and c) the appropriate consideration of environmental limits (Gobert, 2010). In this last dimension, it is necessary to reflect on the consideration of the non-human and the assumption of a diachronic and synchronic vision with respect to the application of environmental justice (Dejean, 2013; Shrader-Fredchette, 2002). As highlighted by the World Tourism Organisation (WTO, 2017) "we must take into account all local issues: nature, culture, gastronomy and idiosyncrasy. When all these factors are combined, it becomes possible to achieve a tourism sector sensitive to peace, and specifically, a peace which contributes to global peace. In a post-conflict context, this combination contributes to the construction of national peace and reconciliation".

51However, the concept of Environmental Justice was developed, initially, from analysis of situations of inequality present in the distribution of environmental benefits or services, as well that of pollutant loads, usually to the detriment of the rights of those less-fortunate in socio-economic terms (Hervé Espejo, 2010, p.15). In countries like Spain, studies have been carried out in which the concept of environmental justice has a direct link with spatial or geographical justice. For Moreno Jiménez, (2010) said relation is evident, insofar as it is established that there are situations of unequal distribution in those territories which have the best environmental conditions, and that this inequality is linked to the enjoyment of better or worse socio-economic situations, in such a way that those who access the sites with the greatest environmental benefits and lowest amount of pollution are precisely those who enjoy the best economic conditions. In this regard, it is not difficult to align environmental thinking with general questions of social justice, with a distributive approach (Bellmont, 2013; Gobert, 2010; Infante, 2016; Coyle, 2015).

52In this sense, environmental justice as a fundamental maxim of environmental policy is characterised by a multidimensional, interconnected and interdependent meaning. As such, there is a territorial dimension to environmental justice expressed in the geographical distribution of natural assets and the concentration of anthropogenic pollution (spatial justice). Another dimension exists in terms of guaranteeing the access and use of environmental and natural assets for the satisfaction of the basic needs of both humans and non-humans (intragenerational environmental justice). Then, there is a temporal dimension surrounding the discussion of the fair distribution of environmental benefits and burdens for future generations (human and non-human) (intergenerational justice). A further dimension in terms of the limits of appropriation (justice in environmental appropriation) exists - that is to say, how much we should appropriate and for what purposes - from a sustainability perspective, meaning that the socio-economic systems which work and which destroy their biophysical base are unsustainable and for this reason, prohibited. This implies two elements: a) respecting the limits, as what we take from the biosphere and what we return to it must fall within the limits of absorption and regeneration of ecosystems; and b) thinking about tomorrow and "what’s remains".

53Finally, although interconnected with the previous dimensions, there exists an idea of justice in acknowledgement (the question of who should be acknowledged or considered in environmental decision-making), and justice in the procedure (what are the appropriate procedures for the fair and equitable consideration of different interests involved in said environmental decision-making processes).

54However, the implementation of these criteria remains a pending issue within most of the environmental conflicts active in Colombia. This has been evidenced principally through mega-projects (mining, hydroelectric, hydrocarbons, etc.). For example, in terms of participation, it has been determined that the mechanisms currently in existence for the participation of communities affected by mega-projects is not sufficient to guarantee the affected population’s effective participation. As such, the Colombian Constitutional Court has decided to "ENCOURAGE the Congress of the Republic to establish, as soon as possible, several mechanisms for citizen participation and one or several instruments for national-territorial coordination and reconciliation, based on the reason for this decision." At the same time, due to an absence of regulation defined by the Legislator with respect to the control of citizen participation mechanisms and instruments for coordination and reconciliation between the nation and specific territorial bodies for underground mining and the use of non-renewable natural resources, the Court has found that a constitutionally inadmissible deficit of protection exists in this regard (Constitutional Court, Judgement SU 095 of 2018).

55This deficit of the right to participation has been found in situations in which the peasantry and indigenous peoples debate the construction of hydroelectric plants (as in the case of the construction of the Quimbo Hydroelectric or in the cases of the Ituango or Urrá dams). Even in the development of environmental management instruments of the protected areas, communities have had problems in being able to adequately participate, as in the case of the Taganga Community and the development of the Environmental Management Plan for the Tayrona National Natural Park, or in the environmental conflict invoked when the national government attempts to establish management instruments in protected areas without the participation of the indigenous or peasant populations which live within them.

56Additionally, some problems have been identified in terms of access to information, especially with regard to provisions such as industrial secrecy, which some businesses have argued in order to not reveal information about the form and conditions in which environmental interventions will be developed. In some cases, communities have been forced to turn to the writ for the protection of constitutional rights in order to access information relating to the environmental impact study8. In Barichará (a municipality in Colombia), for example, community aqueducts had to turn to said writ in order to obtain information on the use of water in an agro-industrial Cannabis project.

57Similarly, difficulties have been encountered in having access to appropriate, relevant information in the event of the State’s failure to generate, collect, make available to public and distribute the relevant environmental information for their functions in a systematic, proactive, timely, regular, accessible and understandable manner, or of their non-compliance with the duty to periodically update this information and to encourage the disaggregation and decentralisation of environmental information at a subnational and local level.

  • 9 Among these examples, two gold mining conflicts stand out for their magnitude and relevance within (...)

58For now, tourism in Colombia does not represent a main source of environmental conflict. However, the situation may change as a result of its expansion. According to Pérez Rincón (2015), the main sources of environmental conflicts in Colombia are: mining (36%)9, fossil fuel extraction and exploration (23%), biomass extraction (14%), infrastructure (9%), and the generation of electricity (8%). On the other hand, tourism represents less than 5% of environmental conflicts. In the same way, this author demonstrates a firm relationship between environmental conflict and the flow of foreign investment, as at least 54% of projects which generate environmental conflict involve foreign investment.

  • 10 Currently, Colombia has eight Technical Standards for Sustainable Tourism (NTS TS) (Table 1), of wh (...)

59Notwithstanding the foregoing, it is important to highlight that different ecotourism activities which have been developed in the Protected Areas of Colombia have also presented a series of negative impacts. In general, these effects are related to accommodation and hospitality, the use of landscape resources and the movement within and outside of natural parks and areas. This is caused by various elements in the provision of these services by different tourism companies and community organisations, offering both ecotourism and conventional tourism services10 (Caviedes Rubio; Olaya Amaya 2018), for which, in some cases, concessions are established which affect the sustainability of environmental assets to a certain degree.

60In this respect, the problems of environmental justice in relation to tourism in general, and even with regard to ecotourism, must address both human welfare, the ethical foundations necessary in order to achieve this and the limits which it would have. Therefore, a theory of environmental justice must require incorporating distributive justice reforms in terms of procedure, which are substantial in assigning appropriate limits to environmental appropriation(Shrader-Fredchette, 2002). Thus, the demands of environmental protection and environmental justice are two sides of the same coin: at their root, they incorporate the question of how much of the environment we can appropriate - through different forms of appropriation -, how we should distribute the profits of this appropriation, and how the decision-making process should be formed in this regard. From the point of view of community participation in tourism activities, in particular, it is imperative that 1) fair representation, 2) fair treatment and fair play, 3) willingness in agreements and 4) transparency, are ensured.

61However, this last point may be related to the question of whether or not environmental sustainability can be achieved through democratic forms (Engel, 2010; Bosselmann, Engel & Taylor, 2008). This is discussed in tandem with a critique of the way in which the market has displaced democracy, as we question how democracy and sustainability can be revived, in such a way that the discussion has been articulated around the way in which to critically theorise democratic commitments in the fight for conservation and sustainability (Heinrichs, 2010; Bosselmann, Engel & Taylor, 2008).

62As an electorate and a counterpart to governments, civil society can either be critical of or may support growth policies. Likewise, civil society may be indifferent or proactive with respect to sustainability. In particular, the fact that debates around the environment and sustainability agendas are closely linked to the agendas of civil society, communities and human organisations must be considered. In this regard, the perspectives of democratic and sustainable societies are ultimately determined by the role which civil society is willing to play (Bosselmann, Engel & Taylor, 2008): after all, democratic societies are self-reflective in the sense of being able to reflect, learn and change(Bosselmann, 2010).

63Of course, said position also implies that public decision-making exercises must bring together not only formal conditions, but material conditions, as well as interaction between global, regional and local levels. Conditions such as transparency, accountability and real participation, the definition of appropriate environmental standards for the development of economic activities and some changes to electoral systems are desirable (Heinrichs, 2010; Bosselmann, Engel & Taylor, 2008). At the same time, profound change towards environmental thinking is needed, from the perspective of environmental citizenship (Mesa Cuadros G., 2013, 2010, 2007; Bosselmann, Engel & Taylor, 2008).

64Environmental democracy - from the perspective of environmental justice - implies greater and authentic constituent participation of all parties in decisions regarding life and the market, through democratisation across all areas of social, political, local, regional, state, international and global life. The construction of a true environmental democracy involves establishing certain criteria to define the type of decisions and the participation mechanisms for different levels of discussion - national, regional and local - as well as establishing the appropriate level of participation for each level and type of decision - information, consultation, initiative, agreement, decision, management and auditing(Rodriguez & Muñoz Avila, 2009). Nor can we ignore the need to articulate global and international levels of decision-making with decisions made at a local and national level. In this regard, one of the challenges presented is the construction of democratic situations from the international level to the local (Marquardt, 2014b; Mesa Cuadros G., 2013, 2010, 2007; Mesa Cuadros G., 2011; Ferry, 1994).

65In the case of Colombia, the Constitutional Court has expressly approached the concept of environmental justice in two of its components: a demand for distributive justice which advocates for the equitable distribution of environmental burdens and benefits among the subjects of a community, eliminating those factors of discrimination (acknowledgement injustices), in socio-economic status or in belonging to countries of the Global North or South (redistribution injustices). Secondly, environmental justice incorporates a demand for participatory justice - that is to say, a petition for significant citizen participation (Colombian Constitutional Court, Judgement T-294 of 2014, T-606 of 2015 and Judgement C-389 of 2016).

66The consideration of these elements will allow for environmental conflicts to be avoided, such as that which arose among the U’wa people and the peasantry of the municipalities of Güicán de la Sierra, concerning ecotourism in El Cocuy and other neighbouring sectors (in Boyacá). These groups have demanded the prohibition of entrance to the El Cucuy mountain for tourist activities on various occasions, as a result of the pollution caused by visitors. They have also denounced that the El Cocuy National Nature Park has become an economic monopoly for the hotel sector, tourist guides and travel agencies which only seek economic profit without considering that this fragile ecosystem represents a crucial factor for life.

67In this way, despite the potential of ecotourism for peacebuilding, this should be broken down into at least three discussions: the necessary limitations to ecotourism activities in order to be considered truly sustainable; the fair and equitable distribution of the benefits and damages that this activity causes and the adequate participation of communities present in the territories where projects of this type hope to advance.

68Of course, this involves developing differentiated territorial intervention strategies, insofar as the Colombian armed conflict has left the country’s tourist destinations in very varied situations. On the one hand, there are territories which, even during armed conflict, functioned as consolidated tourist destinations, such as San Andrés, the Atlantic Coast and the Coffee Axis. Then, it is possible to identify those spaces and territories in which, after having developed incipient tourist activity, this was interrupted during the Colombian conflict, with a greater or lesser degree of deterioration of the structures necessary to recover the tourist activities. Amongst these, we find certain spaces in the departments of Chocó, Antioquía, Santander, Huila and Tomila, and in general, throughout most of the country’s natural spaces. Finally, there exist those territories which previously never enjoyed any tourist initiatives, but which, in the new post-conflict situation, consider tourism as an economic sector which would allow for their development to a certain extent (Menchero Sánchez, 2018). From this perspective, it is necessary to elaborate on the needs and characteristics of the country’s tourist spaces with potential for ecotourism, both for the more established destinations and for those which are currently emerging. Likewise, progress must be made in the institutional strengthening of the sector and in the cooperation of all those actors involved.

69Following this line of discussion, the national government has tried to advance with strategies such as: “Tourism, Peace and Coexistence”, for which 5 pilot territories have been initially studied; Camino Teyuna, La Macarena, Urabá Antioqueño, Darién Chocoano and Putumayo. These areas share the common characteristic of the beauty of their natural attractions, having been impacted by the violence experienced in the country for more than 40 years and because tourism today develops from community-based processes. This strategy seeks to integrate the regions which have been victims of armed conflict within an inclusive tourism market which provides options to local communities, allowing for the transformation of war situations to territories of peace, through the practice of conscious and sustainable tourism with the support of territorial bodies, unions, tourism companies and academia. However, a comprehensive report of these pilot projects remains to be carried out.

70Notwithstanding the foregoing, the initial reports have demonstrated the heterogeneity and need for territory-based approaches in the development of ecotourism within a post-conflict situation. As such, we find a first group which may define themselves as emerging destinations within an initial phase of tourism, such is the case with Putumayo, where the possibility of developing planned and orderly tourism exists if institutional and business coordination can be achieved. A second group may be defined as those territories within a contracting phase, which experienced boom and growth in tourism in the 90s and which today face the consequences of unplanned tourism, lacking governance, as in Urabá Antioqueño and Urabá Darién, in addition to as yet unresolved social and infrastructure conflicts. A third group is formed of those territories within a growth phase, where we find La Macarena and Camino Teyuna. Territories which have overcome conflict and which have been carrying out a tourism development process for approximately 10 years. These are organised territories, with a capacity for internal management and visible leadership (López Zapata et al., 2017). Therefore, this difference demonstrates how the implementation of criteria of environmental justice are relevant and necessary at the time of planning territorial interventions with a view to peacebuilding.

71For now, the new National Development Plan which will guide public policy in Colombia has defined the following as lines of action to be taken: a) modernisation of the regulatory framework for tourism which is adapted to the new contexts and realities of the sector and of regions; b) establishing Special Tourism Zones, in coordination with the Territorial Organisation Plans; c) development of differentiated and high-cost tourism products, such as ecotourism, cultural tourism, meeting tourism and health and wellness tourism; d) attracting investment for sustainable tourism infrastructure on a global scale; e) simplifying the procedures for the registration and update of the National Tourism Registry (RNT); f) strengthening qualifications at an educational, training and professional skills level in relation with tourism activities or offices; and g) updating regulation for the exercise of tourist guides.​​ In this way, a commitment to the development of tourism - including ecotourism - is attested, but, as indicated above, it is necessary to accompany these exercises with a clear plan for intervention which includes environmental justice criteria, or else there is a risk of deepening or creating new environmental conflicts.


72The signing of the peace agreement between the FARC-EP and the Colombian government, as well as the negotiations which are currently being carried out with ELN guerrillas, undoubtedly implies a new context for the development of economic activities within the country. However, the implementation of the peace agreements implies both opportunities and large challenges. With regard to opportunities, there exists the possibility of creating a new social pact, democratising Colombian society, redefining relationships with nature and the land, and the opportunity to access territories previously closed off by conflict also implies the launch of new tourism offers which would theoretically take advantage of the country’s environmental and cultural diversity, attracting thousands of tourists from across the world, as evidenced by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism’s figures.

73Despite the foregoing, ecotourism in Colombia requires at least two dimensions: the first being the dimension of environmental sustainability, as evidenced by the experiences some of the National Natural Parks in which tourism activities are carried out. This misdirected activity may cause serious damage and erosion to the environment, with the use of environmental and natural assets becoming intensive in some cases. In this regard, it is necessary for those tourism projects which hope to develop within areas of special ecological importance to be conceived essentially within the limits of appropriation of nature, in order to avoid overloading these ecosystems. A second dimension which should be considered in the application of new ecotourism projects is related to the social context in which they are applied. As indicated, many areas with ecotourism potential are found in zones heavily affected by armed conflict. On one hand, this represents a situation in which the country is in the process of peacebuilding. However, at the same time, this implies deep tensions in terms of territorial reconfigurations and social demands for the satisfaction of basic needs, etc.

74It is precisely for that reason that this last element is significant for analysis, as poor implementation of ecotourism projects could become a new source of environmental conflict, thereby putting environmental protection and peacebuilding at risk. Hence there exists a need for those ecotourism projects arising in environmentally important territories to develop environmental justice criteria in at least three of the dimensions highlighted in this study, namely: a) concern for environmental sustainability and the limits of nature’s use, b) fair and equitable distribution of environmental assets and burdens derived from the economic activity, and c) appropriate and decisive participation of communities living within the territories in which these projects are planned to be developed, with respect to the community and to traditional practices and ways of life.

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1 Environmental conflicts arise from unjustified appropriation of the environment or that which is carried out by a few and violates the rights of a some, many or all. In this sense, environmental conflicts involve, above all, the interests of holders of fundamental rights, in such a way that environmental conflict can only exist if the rights of individuals, peoples or other communities are being violated (Mesa et al; 2015, p. 37). As such, environmental conflicts can be understood as a dispute over the access, use, distribution, exchange or final availability of environmental and natural assets, or waste, with an impact on living conditions (effects on rights).

2 In developing this study, the "environment" has been understood in the sense of a dynamic system defined by physical, biological, social and cultural interactions, whether perceivable or not, between human beings and other living beings, and all elements of the environment in which they operate, whether these elements are natural or have been transformed or created by man. In the original Spanish text, the term "ambiente" has been chosen instead of "medio ambiente", in order to refer to the "environment", as it has a more complete and comprehensive meaning. This is understood as the inclusion of "medio" [half] in "medio ambiente" therefore suggests something which is missing its other half. As a result of this partial connotation, "medio ambiente" suggests a certain neutrality in the face of improper actions against nature and, furthermore, almost always ends up becoming understood as the "instrument" for and by which human beings satisfy their interests, without consideration for others.

3 This text makes reference to environmental assets as the set of elements which make up the environment and which are said to be the common heritage of humanity. This has been done in order to distinguish these from the term "natural resources", with its utilitarian and instrumental connotations for the elements which make up the environment.

4 In this way, it can be summarised that from the perspective of environmental justice, injustices are committed when an individual or collective, community, people or group (whether present or future) faces: a) disproportionate exposure to environmental risks, b) unequal access to environmental assets, and c) reduced opportunity to participate in the decision-making process with regard to the environment (Gobert, 2010, paragraph 43; Shrader-Fredchette, 2002, pp. 27-29). It is precisely in this last point of discussion that we reflect upon the idea that inequalities in the way in which we participate in decision-making processes contribute to the formation or permanence of structural environmental inequality systems, as they allow for the continuation of acknowledgement failures in environmental decisions (Kaur Amar & Teelucksingh, 2015, p. 45).

5 The obligations of the State with regard to environmental protection may be summarised into four overarching groups: a) environmental planning obligations, b) obligations for the control and monitoring of activities or projects which may cause pollution or environmental damage, c) the obligation to impose sanctions against behaviours which degrade the environment, and d) the obligation to repair environmental damage.

6 Much emphasis has been placed on the economic returns of peace. Colombia spends approximately 3.4% of its gross domestic product on defence. As such, it is the largest spender in this sector within Latin America. Although freeing up this public budget would not directly lead to greater economic growth or better social spending, it would offer the opportunity to redirect this money into education, health and the environment. According to the government, peace could result in a 1.5% increase in GDP and 5-8% in the regions most affected by war (Bustos & Jaramillo, 2016).

7 A population bordering the Tayrona National Park

8 See

9 Among these examples, two gold mining conflicts stand out for their magnitude and relevance within the country: that of the Santurbán Páramo in Santander, with the presence of the Canadian multinational Greystar, and the conflict in the La Colosa mine of Cajamarca-Piedras, Tolima, related to the Anglo Gold Ashanti (AGA) South African multinational.

10 Currently, Colombia has eight Technical Standards for Sustainable Tourism (NTS TS) (Table 1), of which, according to Article 5 of Law 1558 of 2012, all except for NTS TS 001-1 and 001-2 are mandatory and regulated in accordance with Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Resolution 3860 of 2015. Compliance with NTS TS 002 by accommodation and hospitality establishments, and its certification by an organisation authorised by the Ministry of Environment allows these establishments to obtain the Colombian Environmental Seal, in addition to the Tourism Quality Seal of the Ministry for Commerce, Industry and Tourism.

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Luis Fernando Sánchez Supelano, « Ecotourism in Colombian Peacebuilding: Peace, Conflict and Environmental Justice », Via [En ligne], 15 | 2019, mis en ligne le 22 novembre 2019, consulté le 04 avril 2020. URL : ; DOI :

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Luis Fernando Sánchez Supelano

Lawyer, Master of Law and candidate for a Ph.D. in Law from the National University of Colombia. Member of the National University of Colombia’s Research Group on Collective and Environmental Law. Email:

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