Colombia is one of the best bird-watching destinations in the world. According to the South American Checklist Committee, it is home to more than 1,900 bird species, almost 20% of the existing bird species in the world. Birdwatching and avitourism are increasingly becoming an essential part of the country’s tourism industry – in July 2017, The Economist estimated that “bird tourism could generate revenue of USD 46 million a year, and create at least 7,500 new jobs.”
In order to further support sustainable avitourism in the region, the eco.business Development Facility joined in events and sponsored the visit of internationally well-known birdwatcher Juan Pablo Culasso to the Colombia BirdFair 2018.
From 17 to 19 February 2018, the Colombia BirdFair brought together more than 70,000 birdwatchers and international experts participated in various panels, workshops, lectures and field trips for bird watching to share their experiences on caring for the environment. The event, which completes its third version in Cali, pays homage to birds as symbols of union and conservation and shows how the richness of fauna can become a driver for sustainable tourism within the country.
Juan Pablo Culasso is considered one of the most outstanding birdwatchers in Latin America. To perform his work, the 32-year-old Uruguayan trusts entirely in his developed auditory capacity. Juan Culasso sees the birds in a different way: through his singing. He was born blind, with only the ability to distinguish slight variation in light. His father taught him in the song of the birds when he was a child. What was first a game, where he memorized the singing, he turned into his lifestyle. He learned to recognize, love and protect birds. Juan Culasso says he has come to “hear their color.”
As part of his trip to Colombia, Juan Culasso visited the Institute for Blind and Deaf Children of Valle de Cauca, a non-profit organization in Cali that was founded to provide an opportunity for kids with visual and hearing disabilities. Juan Culasso carried out a workshop for the institute’s children and their parents and exchanged ideas with teachers and psychologist of the school. Juan Culasso demonstrated that physical disability does not have to be an obstacle for enjoying and protecting biodiversity.
About the eco.business Fund
The eco.business Fund is spearheading the promotion of business practices that contribute to the preservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of natural resources, and climate change mitigation and adaptation through private enterprises. By providing financing for business practices that conserve nature and foster biodiversity, the fund seeks investments with both financial and environmental returns. The fund mainly provides loans to qualified local financial institutions that lend the money to eligible borrowers, which include holders of recognized certifications or those making improvements in line with conservation and biodiversity goals. The fund supports sustainable operations in the sectors of agriculture, fishery, forestry and eco-tourism.
The eco.business Fund was initiated by Germany’s KfW Development Bank and Conservation International with financial support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). It has received further donor support from the European Commission. The additional investor base comprises Dutch development bank FMO, the Austrian development bank OeEB and institutional investors such as sustainable banking institution ASN Bank, German ethical bank GLS, Calvert Impact Capital, and Raiffeisen Bank International. Finance in Motion, a leading impact investing company, is also an investor.
Operating hand-in-hand with the eco.business Fund, the eco.business Development Facility provides high-impact technical assistance at the sector level to local lending institutions and final borrowers.
For more information please visit www.ecobusiness.fund and follow us on Twitter @ecobusinessfund
About the eco.business Fund Development Facility
The eco.business Fund Development Facility was created in 2014 to support the environmental funding office. Its main goal is to maximise the impact of the Fund by complementing its investment activities with an efficient, specific and innovative assistance technique in the beneficiary countries.
The program is implemented through training projects, direct support to the financial sector and applied research, with the goal of strengthening the internal skills and the transactions of institutions associated with the Fund.