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The municipality of Envigado (Antioquia, Colombia) is part of the metropolitan area of the Aburrá Valley, which is made up of ten municipalities including Medellín. Envigado has 242,000 inhabitants in a territory of 79.86 km2 comprising urban and rural areas.
Territorial planning and urban development, as well as agricultural and livestock activities, extend between the banks of the Medellín River and the slopes of the Aburrá Valley, putting pressure on green areas and the ecological structure of the city. The area of Envigado includes forests and protected ecosystems with high biodiversity, including biological corridors and species listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.
Envigado has introduced a number of measures to protect ecosystems and their ecological structure. These include the SILAPE (Local System of Protected Areas of Envigado), which covers 40% of the municipality's surface area, as well as the Urban Protected Area Wetland El Trianon-La Heliodora. This is an innovative solution in Colombia, developed locally to address the shortcomings of regional and national level regulations for protected areas, which have limited or eliminated their applicability to urban and peri-urban areas of municipalities. SILAPE allows for the identification and protection of the main ecological structure, ecosystem services and its management through a strategic plan. The city's municipal development plan aims to consolidate the main ecological structure and restore urban and rural ecological connectivity. Beyond local measures, Envigado is leading the effort, together with ten municipalities belonging to the same conurbation, to protect important ecosystems in the region, through, for example, the definition of a network of local protected areas, the Metropolitan Green Belt and the implementation of regional watershed management plans.
Focus in INTERLACE
Through its participation in INTERLACE, Envigado aims to improve environmental and development policies and create a network of communities to exchange knowledge and practices on the consolidation of ecological structure, ecosystem restoration and nature-based solutions. As a leading municipality in the department of Antioquia in terms of municipal management of protected areas, Envigado aims to serve as a model for other municipalities and regions on managing and strengthening the ecological structure.