Since 2017, Slow Fish Caribe project, financed by the European Union, has been taking actions toward improving the quality of life of artisanal fishermen, Black Crab catchers, farmers and community tour operators in the San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina Archipelago (Colombia), through various work strategies implemented in the field by Slow Food and its local partners Fundación ACUA and Corporación Coralina.
In 2019, work was carried out to elaborate recommendations for public policy on sustainable fishing, agriculture, capture, and transformation of Black Crab and community tourism. Various local actors, some of which belonging to Indigenous Terra Madre Network and more in general linked to these productive sectors have been involved, with the intention of influencing the construction of the new departmental and local development agenda.
Using participatory techniques, a collective analysis was made of the problems that local actors actually face in terms of production, transformation, and commercialization, as well as their relationship with the departmental and municipal public administration, in turn, recommendations were made to overcome the problems identified, based on the knowledge and experience of the participants.
As a result of this work, a document was constructed, which contains the context analysis of each of the sectors mentioned and exposes each of the recommendations constructed. This document was socialized and validated in February of this year (2020) with the participants of the process.
Subsequently, it was presented at public events called by the government of the department and the mayor of Providencia for the construction of development plans and bilateral meetings Finally it was exposed to the Governor of the Department and members of his cabinet, as well as to members of the mayor’s cabinet in the island of Providencia.
In this context, the local government expressed its interest in guaranteeing the promotion of sustainable fishing and agriculture in the department: food security in the archipelago can be achieved through the reactivation of these two productive sectors that for years have been little favored with incentives and projects, enhancing them in accordance with the denomination of Biosphere Reserve granted by Unesco.
In the same way, the local government expressed its interest in starting to stimulate a tourism offer, which should be more linked to the community actors and to Raizal culture as alternative axes to the tourism of “sea, sun and beach” that currently prevails.
In the framework of the Slow Fish Caribe project, two proposals for tourist routes have been elaborated, one in San Andrés and the other in Providencia, which involve this perspective, articulating tour operators linked to the promotion and valorization of the Raizal culture and its architectural, natural and gastronomical assets.
We hope this process will bear fruit and the new Development Plans of the department and the municipality include the recommendations made by these community actors, which recognize the need for transformation towards more inclusive policies that stimulate and enhance the sustainable development of the archipelago as a Biosphere Reserve in the next four-year period.
By: Liliana Marcela Vargas Vásquez