A group of artisanal fishermen in Bahía Solano, along Colombia’s Pacific coast, learned how to improve their livelihoods while mitigating overfishing through Emprende Pacífico, an initiative implemented by ACDI/VOCA and the Ministry of Labor, in 2016. They learned sustainable fishing techniques, such as ending the practice of dragging large nets that catch all sorts of marine life and limiting the size of fish they capture. The initiative helped reduce conflict, as fishing communities experienced better livelihoods and fewer incentives to turn to informal work, such as drug trafficking, illegal mining, and other illicit activities that continue the cycle of violence.
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Illegal alluvial gold mining in Colombia is a complex phenomenon that not only sweeps away vegetation but alters the balance of ecosystems through aggressive mechanical extraction methods that create deserts. In Antioquia, Colombia this has degraded over 45 thousand hectares of land, stripping away valuable trees that can absorb carbon dioxide (CO2), one of the main greenhouse gases. The USAID-Oro Legal Activity brought together indigenous and Afro Colombian communities, the private sector, and local and departmental governments to mitigate the environmental impact of uncontrolled mineral exploitation on more than one thousand hectares of degraded ex-mining land. Today 1,133,220 Acacia mangium trees and other native species are greening large tracts of land where just a few years ago only rocks and bare soil could be found.