A large part of the 3,000 km long coast of Colombia is subject to erosion. Besides erosion due to natural causes, erosion is often a result of human activities such as removal of mangrove forests, sand mining, dredging port access channels and construction of jetties. Erosion leads to social problems, loss of environmental services and economic damage. There is no national programme to mitigate erosion and as a result mtigating measures are uncoordinated, pay insufficient attention to their adverse impacts and are often unsuccessful.
The Colombian Ministry of Environment along with the Dutch Government represented by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, assigned a Consortium consisting of Dutch and Colombian experts to analyse the present and future condition of the coast, the governance context and to propose a roadmap to improve coastal erosion management. Royal HaskoningDHV was responsible for the analysis of the natural system, prioritization of critical erosion locations and the preparation of adequate erosion mitigation measures. Using advanced technologies to analyse satellite images it determined existing and forecasted future erosion problems. A method was developed for comparison and ranking of urgency of erosion problems. The proposed mitigation measures were based on the Building with Nature principles.
The Consortium developed a Master Plan giving a clear advice on the steps the Colombian Government should take to mitigate or avoid coastal erosion problems and to reduce the associated risk. A capacity development programme was rolled out, with dedicated training sessions provided to representatives of coastal authorities on use of modern technologies and Integrated Coastal Zone Management.