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Habitat Banks

Habitat Bank - Meta

What are habitat banks?

The Habitat Banks are lands where compensation requirements and actions for the preservation, improvement or restoration of ecosystems are implemented to offset negative impacts on biodiversity. Through the Habitat Banks, quantifiable gains in biodiversity are generated, which are used for companies to compensate for the environmental damage caused. This mechanism is aimed at generating a payment mechanism for environmental results,fact with which it is possible to achieve increases in productivity, efficiency and quality of environmental compensation.To ensure the success of Habitat Banks, they enjoy financial, technical and legal guarantees, which are aspects little considered in environmental investment mechanisms.


Thus, the Habitat Bankstheir purpose is to serve as aggregate compensation schemes, where several companies can compensate their damages to the environment in a single area.In addition, these Banks become a cost-efficient solution, wherewhoever generates the impacts only makes payments to the extent that different milestones are metin the process of design, structuring, and maintenance of biodiversity units, which have their equivalent in terms of hectares

Habitat Bank - Meta

Habitat Banks in Colombia

Since 2013,Terrasos together with the NGO Fundepúblico, have worked on the issue of environmental compensationfor a simple reason, although these are an instrument of environmental management established since 1993,the country has no record of where or how they are being implemented.Under this scenario, these two organizations developed a proposal for the implementation of compensation through the Habitat Banks. 

These banks are a mechanism incorporated in several countries thathas shown to make environmental compensation processes more efficient, to the extent thatfacilitate compliance and at the same time improve control and surveillance by environmental authorities.Habitat banks are also an opportunity for the country to generate environmental public policy instruments that can be translated into opportunities for rural development and protection of natural resources.

Within this research, documents and materials were developed in order to motivate reflection on the way in which Colombia can move forward in a more effective implementation of environmental compensations. The following infographics emerged from this work:View PDF

What is the solution we offer?

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Status quo
Habitat Banks
Habitat Bank

Project 1

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Project 1

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•High transactions costs

•Unknown implementation costs

•Reduced impact

•Mismatched timing between projects and duties

•Non permanence of investments and impacts

  • Early investment

  • Performance based payments

  • Secured land

  • Reduced transactions costs

  • Economies of scale 

  • Reduce financial risk and uncertainty for clients

Habitat Bank guarantees

Benefits of Habitat Banks

Regulations related to Habitat Banks in Colombia

Resolution 1051 of June 5, 2017

Recently, the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development (MADS) issued the administrative act that regulates habitat banks. Said act establishes the scope of application, the conditions to create habitat banks and the terms that must be met in order to register them. The resolution assumes these banks as a mechanism for implementing the obligations derived from environmental compensation and the forced investment of 1%, as well as other conservation initiatives that can be configured through actions of preservation, restoration, and sustainable use of ecosystems and their biodiversity, under the pay-for-performance scheme. As part of the conditions for creating habitat banks, it is required to comply with the principles of additionality, complementarity, sustainability and permanence, payment for performance and knowledge management.(See Resolution here).


Decree 2099 of December 22, 2016

This Decree seeks a more appropriate management of water, requiring all projects that involve in their execution the use of water taken directly from natural sources, and that are subject to obtaining an environmental license, to allocate 1% of the total amount investment of said projects for the recovery, conservation, preservation and surveillance of the hydrographic basin that feeds the respective water source. As one of the mechanisms for the implementation of these investments, Habitat Banks are included, and others such as payment for environmental services, conservation agreements, as well as the application in conservation initiatives (Ver decree here).

Resolution 1517 of August 31, 2012

In 2012, the national government adopted, through Resolution 1517, the Manual for the allocation of compensation for loss of biodiversity. This Manual applies to works and activities that require an environmental license from the ANLA, leaving out projects licensed by CARs, forest reserve thefts, forest exploitation and ban lifting. The guidelines of the Manual provide clarity and generate opportunities to seek more cost-efficient implementation schemes, which can result in quantifiable biodiversity gains -as is the case of Habitat Banks.(See Resolution here). 

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