Environmental country reviews

Environmental performance reviews: Colombia 2014


Highlights  | Data visualisation Assessment & Recommendations | Publication Versión española

OECD Environmental Performance Reviews: Colombia 2014

Colombia’s rich natural heritage as one of the world’s most bio-diverse countries is coming under increasing pressure from extractive industries, livestock grazing, urbanisation and car use, according to the OECD’s first Environmental Performance Review of Colombia. This review, which will feed into talks on Colombia’s accession to the OECD, stresses the need to do more to steer economic development in an environmentally sustainable and socially equitable direction.

The OECD Environmental Performance Reviews provide independent assessments of countries’ progress in achieving their environmental policy objectives in order to help improve individual and collective environmental performance.

The Highlights below present the main OECD findings. Click here for the full Assessment & Recommendations, as endorsed by OECD countries. Click here to read the review online. 


Colombia has enjoyed impressive economic growth in recent years, but it remains one of the world’s most unequal countries. Its rich biodiversity and ecosystems are coming under significant pressure from extractive industries, livestock grazing, road traffic and urbanisation.

Internal armed conflict has undermined the rule of law, exacerbated many environmental pressures (mainly from illegal mining, cultivation of illicit drug crops and deforestation), and restricted access to protected areas and the management of natural resources. Until recently, environmental policies and institutions failed to keep pace with these pressures, and in some cases have been weakened. The serious economic and social damage caused by the extreme weather linked to La Niña in 2010-11 has prompted a strengthening of environmental governance.

Colombia’s desire to become a member of the OECD is also reinforcing the need to bring environmental policies and institutions in line with good international practices.


  • The world’s second most biodiverse country, with forest covering more than half the territory.
  • Abundant water and improved access to water services.
  • Low CO2 emissions from fuel combustion per unit of GDP due to heavy reliance on hydropower.
  • Potential to convert resources from well-managed minerals, metals and fossil fuels into infrastructure investment.


  • Extensive cattle farming, contributing to land degradation, deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Poorly-regulated extractive industries, damaging human health and the environment.
  • Climate change vulnerability, bringing significant economic, environmental and social costs.
  • Poor environmental integration within the national policy framework.
  • Wide disparities in income, landholdings and access to environmental services.


Colombia environmental performance review - Highlights by OECD_env



For more information please contact Frédérique Zegel


P‌hoto credits : jkraft5/Fotolia, Dirk Ercken/Shutterstock, Danipilze/Flickr Creative Commons


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