BUCARAMANGA, Colombia – The Manos al Agua-Intelligent Water Management (IWM) Program, implemented by the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC) with the support of different strategic partners, won this Thursday the first place in the business category of Colombia’s 13th Planeta Azul (Blue Planet) National Ecology Award.
The award ceremony took place at Bucaramanga’s Club Campestre. A total of 215 projects competed in this version of the Planeta Azul Award, created by the Banco de Occidente 14 years ago.
The Planeta Azul National Ecology Award seeks to recognize and praise programs, projects or actions that show results in water knowledge, protection, conservation and recovery.
The awards encompass the business (large, mixed and small & medium companies) and general categories, the latter open to natural persons, foundations, associations, community groups, NGOs, and public or private educational institutions.
“This award is the recognition of a great collective effort of partners, coffee growers themselves and all the team working in this beautiful project,” Rodrigo Calderón, director of the Manos al Agua-IWM program, said.
Manos al Agua-IWM is a public-private partnership between the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO), the Presidential Agency of International Cooperation (APC Colombia), the companies Nestlé, Nescafé, and Nespresso, the Wageningen University & Research (WUR), Cenicafé, and the FNC as executor and manager of the project.
During five years and with an integrated approach based on the river basin, the Program seeks to create resilient territories and improve water quantity and quality in 25 coffee municipalities of five departments of the country (Antioquia, Caldas, Valle del Cauca, Cauca and Nariño).
Protection of springs and water sources, reduction of pollution and of water consumption in coffee production, reforestation with native species and basic sanitation works are some of the components of this ambitious project, the largest water-related one carried out in any coffee-producing country.
The criteria for selecting the winners included impact, creativity, validity, replicability, consistency of actions, integration of different areas, sustainability, and continuity in results of the experience.
The Planeta Azul National Ecology Award, created in 1993 and focused on water, is an initiative by the Banco de Occidente to raise awareness among Colombia’s citizens about the need and importance of caring for and defending the environment.