Responsible parties: HIDRIA-CEMarin

National Ocean Policy of Panama

Since September 2020, as part of the HIDRIA-CEMarin Consortium, we have been developing the consultancy for the elaboration of the National Ocean Policy, Strategy and Action Plan of Panama. This project stems from the interest in forging a unified vision of the country regarding the ocean and, consequently, the development of a comprehensive instrument that contributes to maintaining the balance between the conservation of marine biodiversity and resources, and the use and management of the oceans. This consultancy has been structured under an Inter-institutional Commission led by the Ministry of Foreign Relations, Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Commerce and Industries, Ministry of Canal Affairs, Panama Maritime Authority, Panama Aquatic Resources Authority, National Secretariat for Science, Technology and Innovation, Panama Canal Authority and Tourism Authority. The United Nations Development Program is the partner actor that will facilitate the common theme of the technical actions implemented. At CEMarin, we are currently responsible for contributing to the project all our technical, scientific and academic experience in the field of marine sciences and the set of knowledge, processes, abilities and skills required, through experts in the areas of the environment, marine biodiversity and coastal engineering. Furthermore, this project has provided us with tools and experience to be able to carry out projects of a similar magnitude in Colombia in the future.

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Responsible parties: Coralina, Universidad Nacional de Colombia and CEMarin

Detailed study to define the risk for the Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina regarding hurricanes in the most probable categories

The objective of this agreement is to carry out a detailed study to define the risk for the Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina, regarding hurricanes in the most probable categories. To this end, at CEMarin, together with the other responsible parties, we are carrying out field work and modeling. In March 2021, the field campaign was undertaken, including professionals for the installation of sensors in the sea, a diving team and a team of experts on the coast, where, with GPS differentials, points were gathered in order to have reference points regarding rises in sea levels. There is also a land-based team in charge of gathering information on the infrastructure and drainage systems of the islands. Additionally, the project has teams in charge of carrying out numerical modeling, atmospheric modeling, hydrological modeling and hydrodynamic modeling. All the data gathered in the field will allow the calibration and validation of models for decision-making. In the meantime, we are also generating a divulgation strategy for this study.

The ecoregion of the Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta (CGSM)…

…is the most productive coastal wetland in the world (Chl-a), the first RAMSAR site in Colombia and a Biosphere Reserve. It is probably the most researched ecosystem in Colombia. In an ongoing effort since 2016, hundreds of documents dating back to 1820 have been identified and catalogued. This repository is made available to the scientific community via our portal Si-CGSM, whose goal is to establish an Information System as a basis for the sustainable management of this ecoregion of local, national and international importance. With funding from the CEMarin Seed Grants program, we are currently seeking donors to implement the project “Sí-CGSM – GIS-based participatory Environmental Information System of the Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta“

Responsible parties: Universidad de Antioquia, Municipality of Turbo, SENA (National Learning Service) and CEMarin

ColombiaCONNECT – Project No. 1: Participatory aquaponics in the fishing communities of Urabá Colombia: a path towards gender equality and ecological and socioeconomic sustainability

At CEMarin we are currently working in the Urabá region, one of the areas most affected by the armed conflict in Colombia, in conjunction with the Universidad de Antioquia, the Municipality of Turbo, SENA and researchers from the Universidad de los Andes and the Justus Liebig University Giessen. This project, in the municipality of Turbo, has the purpose of implementing two systems of sustainable aquaponics (combination of aquaculture with vegetables grown in water), using native species, as follows:

an aquaponics training system for marginalized groups to be established at the Universidad de Antioquia’s Marine Sciences Campus in Tulenapa, and
a best practice aquaponics system for regional species operated by fisherwomen and/or fishermen’s wives at their local school near Turbo.

The project has three main components:

Social: Participatory and culturally respectful training, socioeconomic empowerment and monitoring. Once trained, the municipality of Turbo and the SENA will continue to monitor and assist the fishing communities for at least three years.

Technical: Implementation of aquaponics systems that, after 12 months, must be environmentally, financially and socially self-sustaining. The municipality of Turbo will ensure the supply of water and energy for the systems and, after the first year of operation, will provide the funds for an additional system that will also be located in a school in a second fishing community.

Economic: Two activities have been planned in this component. The first is a market study and a business plan to evaluate and guarantee financial sustainability, taking into account that the municipality of Turbo will ensure the purchasing of all production for the School Food Program. The second is an economic valuation of the ecosystem services provided by the project and/or preserved as a result of its implementation.

This project aims to help implement the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in the region. In particular, to contribute to reducing poverty (SDG 1), achieving food security, improving nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture (SDG 2), achieving gender equality and empowering women (SDG 5), and ensuring sustainable production patterns and the efficient and sustainable use of aquatic and terrestrial resources (SDG 12 & 14, Fair Trade).

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Drones as a Valuable Tool: Mapping and monitoring coastal ecosystems in Colombia

There are many challenges in the mapping and monitoring of coastal ecosystems in Colombia, including weather-related factors and the limitations of satellite imagery and other remote sensing tools to provide high-resolution measurements and small-scale temporary changes.

This project uses drone-based methods to provide a novel, reliable and fast resource to characterize and monitor different coastal ecosystems. In the long-term, these techniques can generate valuable data for use in future studies and be combined with other methods of remote sensing to enhance information over larger areas.

Innovation is key in the application of these new methods of automatic flight planning for image acquisition, the use of ground control points and the processing of images with photogrammetric tools. By obtaining orthophotomosaics and digital terrain models at very high resolution, in the range of centimeters, it is possible to map mangrove forests, coral reefs, beaches and rocky shores, among others.

For example, in February 2019, the impacts of an extreme low tide event on the “La Chola” coral reef in the Utría National Natural Park on Colombia’s Pacific coast. Using this innovative approach to map the coral reef over four consecutive days allowed the monitoring of the effects of this event on the corals, for example, in terms of partial bleaching, as well as their resistance to exposure to a number of stressors, including sedimentation, “el Niño” warming episodes, and subaerial exposure during these low tides.

CEMarin promotes this innovative project through our support for postgraduate students in our member universities and our Early Stage Researchers program.

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Responsible parties: Coastal Solutions Program – Cornell University, Universidad Nacional de Colombia and CEMarin

Contribution to the Climate Adaptation Plan on Punta Soldado Island, Buenaventura, Colombia

At CEMarin we are currently developing a series of projects to strengthen the coastal resilience of Punta Soldado Island, a rural area of the Buenaventura municipality. These initiatives are carried out in agreement with the Coastal Solutions Program of Cornell University, United States, which seeks to support young Latin American planners, developers and scientists to implement new solutions to the challenges faced by coastal ecosystems and their communities. In addition, the Universidad Nacional de Colombia is linked to this project through the National Call for Solidarity Extension won in 2019, which seeks to strengthen social innovation between academia and organized vulnerable communities, seeking to improve the quality of life of the latter.

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