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Environmental sustainability in post-conflict countries: insights for rural Colombia


  • Andres Suarez

    () (Universidad de la Costa)

  • Paola Andrea Árias-Arévalo

    () (Universidad Del Valle
    Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

  • Eliana Martínez-Mera

    () (Universidad de la Costa)


Post-conflict countries (PCC) guide their priorities toward restoration of socioeconomic conditions and relegate sustainability objectives to the background. With the aim to provide insights for the current discussion on rural environmental sustainability in today’s post-conflict Colombia, we analyzed the environmental dynamics of seven PCC. We found that (1) deforestation and land use conflicts were frequent impacts in both conflict and post-conflict scenarios, that (2) return of displaced population, the infectiveness of land use planning, and the dependence on the primary sector were frequent drivers of environmental change; and that (3) natural resources extraction tends to be intensified in post-conflict period. We discuss these findings in light of the current environmental problems of Colombia and the post-conflict environmental challenges. We conclude that in order to ensure environmental sustainability in post-conflict scenario, Colombia should act on structural aspects that go beyond the environmental objectives proposed in the peace agreement between the government and FARC: strengthening environmental institutions, integrating long-term environmental objectives across all sectors, and deintensifying the dependence of the economy in the extractive sector.

Suggested Citation

  • Andres Suarez & Paola Andrea Árias-Arévalo & Eliana Martínez-Mera, 2018. "Environmental sustainability in post-conflict countries: insights for rural Colombia," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 997-1015, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:endesu:v:20:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s10668-017-9925-9
    DOI: 10.1007/s10668-017-9925-9

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Mariana Unda & Andrés Etter, 2019. "Conservation Opportunities of the Land Restitution Program Areas in the Colombian Post-Conflict Period," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(7), pages 1-19, April.
    2. Juanita Aldana-Domínguez & Carlos Montes & José A. González, 2018. "Understanding the Past to Envision a Sustainable Future: A Social–Ecological History of the Barranquilla Metropolitan Area (Colombia)," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(7), pages 1-18, June.


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