Photo of vehicle traffic on street in a city next to the Transmilenio Bus Rapid Transit  station in Bogota, Colombia.

The EC-LEDS program is helping Colombia leverage transit-oriented investment to build on major national investments in public transit. Credit: EMBARQ Brasil

September 2015

Over the past 4 years, the EC-LEDS program has helped the Government of Colombia develop eight Sectoral Mitigation Action Plans (SMAPs), leverage $20 million for transit-oriented development, and support the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Law that was passed in May 2014. This progressive approach has allowed Colombia—with U.S. support—to enter into trilateral relationships with Jamaica to share its country model for addressing the climate challenge.

Sectoral Mitigation Action Plans

The eight SMAPs—all of them already officially approved and signed—include transport, mines, energy, agriculture, industry, hydrocarbons, housing, and solid and water waste. Together these SMAPS are projected to mitigate nearly 830 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) by 2040.

 “These plans were designed with a development-first approach. They embrace the priorities of each sector and push them toward a low carbon path,” said Sandra Garavito, director of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Low Carbon Resilient Development (LCRD) Program.   

Alexander Martinez Montero from Colombia’s National Department of Planning added, “The sectoral agendas are the first steps in the green growth model that comprises the base of the 2014-2018 National Development Plan.”

The National Development Plan was officially approved by law in June 2015, including a green growth chapter mandating ministries to implement the SMAPs. 

Transit-Oriented Development

The EC-LEDS program also helped Colombia leverage $20 million in international funding for transit-oriented development. Colombia’s transit sector represents about 12% of its total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Focused on mitigation action and finance at the national level and implementation at city level, this work will shift where public and private investments are made to increase environmental, economic, and social returns on Colombia’s transit and social housing development.

“It is expected that transit-oriented development will enhance the benefits of major national investments in public transit—increasing use of different modes in public transport  and financial sustainability—and even leverage funding for low-income housing,” Garavito said.

Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Law

Finally, the EC-LEDS program supported the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Law. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos signed the law on May 14, 2014. Key components include: promoting the integration of renewable energy resources in off-grid areas, increasing financial and tax incentives, and supporting the creation of the Non-Conventional Energies and Energy Efficiency Fund. The enactment of this law is also a critical step in stimulating private sector investment in renewable energy.

Though Colombia is not a major emitter of GHG, Montero said, “One must look beyond national GHG reductions to the benefits that mitigation brings to Colombian society, allowing it to implement the most efficient practices and use of resources.” 

Colombia has emerged as an international leader and “early mover” in low emission development and is addressing both climate change mitigation and adaptation in a manner that support long-term sustainable economic growth. When it comes to low emission development, Colombia has quickly defined itself as a country worth emulating.

Download the success story fact sheet.

Learn more about EC-LEDS program activities in Colombia.