Initiative Result:

Colombia begins testing Mitigate+-designed protocol to monitor, report and verify deforestation risk

The CGIAR Initiative on Low-Emission Food Systems, or Mitigate+, has developed a protocol for monitoring, reporting, and verifying the risk of deforestation from the production of key agricultural commodities in Colombia. Government ministries have endorsed the implementation of the protocol to realize the commitments under the country’s zero-deforestation initiatives. The National Federation of Coffee Producers of Colombia is piloting the protocol, with results due in July 2024.

Agriculture, forestry, and other land uses (AFOLU) contribute significantly to total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Colombia. Implementing a system that can monitor, report, and verify (MRV) deforestation and thus emissions from AFOLU is challenging; doing so at the farm level is particularly complex. Yet having such a system is necessary to realize the objectives of zero-deforestation initiatives in Colombia.

An MRV protocol has been developed to address this challenge. Using the protocol will reduce the uncertainty surrounding calculations in national GHG inventories due to deforestation and contribute to expanding natural conservation areas in production zones among various agrifood value chains.

The Mitigate+ MRV protocol uniquely guarantees transparency in monitoring deforestation risk and facilitates adherence to established zero-deforestation agreements. It also fosters inclusion by promoting the involvement of rural women, youth, ethnic minorities, and other rural dwellers in the processes. Designed to enhance public-private cooperation, the protocol seeks also to strengthen the technical capacities for monitoring, reporting and verifying environmental resources, to attract green investments in the Colombian agrifood sector, and to support Colombia in meeting its international commitments on climate action and biodiversity conservation.

The protocol builds on solutions developed by the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT for monitoring deforestation, such as Terra-i and GeoFarmer, for collecting information like polygons and activity data. This makes it robust and cost-effective.

To facilitate the protocol’s support for zero-deforestation agreements, Mitigate+ has established partnerships with the Colombian Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Tourism, as well as with ProColombia, the organization responsible for promoting tourism and foreign investment in Colombia. The ministry considers such deployment a priority in relation to exports.

The Low-Emission Food Systems Initiative led the efforts to establish the above strategic alliances. One of our team members sits on an inter-institutional roundtable focused on due diligence issues related to the European regulation for value chains in Colombia and has successfully advocated for the inclusion of our protocol in these discussions. She was pivotal in arranging the implementation of a project piloting the protocol within the coffee sector.

Mitigate+ has also had discussions with the Colombian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to identify financing mechanisms and to outline a roadmap for piloting the MRV protocol nationwide. The protocol has been proposed for use in developing a “deforestation-free meat” label for Colombia.

The full implementation of the protocol is expected to benefit a wide array of actors nationwide. These include tens of thousands of producers — both men and women — as well as researchers, extension agents, policymakers, and non-governmental organizations. The National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia is piloting the protocol, with funding coming from the European Union. Results of the pilot are due in July 2024.

The MRV protocol we designed for monitoring deforestation in Colombia ensures transparent, efficient, and inclusive processes. It catalyzes national efforts, mitigating climate impact and fostering conservation within agroproductive landscapes — a transformative leap toward a greener future for the country.

Sandra Guisela Durango Morales, a postdoctoral fellow in the Multifunctional Landscapes program of the Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT and a Mitigate+ scientist

Header photo: Different maize landraces produced in Nariño, Colombia. Andrea Gomez/CIMMYT .

CGIAR Centers

Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT


The National Federation of Coffee Producers; Other national institutions.