|Colombian biodiversity - in good hands?|
After eight years, Colombia, one of the world's most biodiverse nations, finally has a minister of the environment again.
In 2003, then-Pres. Alvaro Uribe merged the ministry of the environment into that of housing and territorial development - in order to save money, I suppose. A glance at the combined ministry's website shows that its housing side, which generates political support, gets lots more priority than does environmental regulation, which can cost votes.
So it was encouraging last June when Pres. Juan Manuel Santos once again gave the environment its own ministry.
|Frank Pearl: Good at resolving armed conflict, |
but can he protect the environment?
|An open-pit mine in Colombia. |
The gold, coal and other industries
want more of these.
One suspects, unfortunately, that Pearl was chosen because, as a greenhorn on the environment and untrained in biodiversity defense, extraction industries expect him to be a pushover for those strip-mining, clear-cutting multinationals.
Wasn't there anybody else available? The leader of an environmentalist NGO? A respected official in the existing ministry of the environment and housing?
|Sandra Bessudo: Too radical to be minister?|
Most disappointingly, I haven't heard any objections to Pearl's apppointment. In fact, Colombian beauty queen crownings have sometimes generated more controversy.
Perhaps Pearl will surprise. For Colombia's future, let's hope he does.
But I'm not betting on it. And I suspect that the multinationals don't expect him too, either.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours