National Parks of the southern Meta/Colombia in Post-acuerdo – A conflict- and actor-oriented analysis of the public debate

Yvonne Laudien, Bielefeld University

This article is based on a more detailed study which examines the role of three national parks and their associated buffer zones in the southern Meta region of Colombia during a period that involves attempts at peace consolidation. A conflict- and actor-oriented analysis of the public debate on the role of national parks in southern Meta in the post-acuerdo offers an insight into multilateral areas of conflict. It shows that the current national park territories do not provide all-encompassing answers to the complex social and historically-constructed real spatial interdependencies in the region. That is why in many places the national parks become “paper parks.” In the context of global phenomena, this work underlines the diverging views and demands on environmental protected areas in post-FARC zones at different scales and levels. This site-specific consideration, which is based on an analysis of a nationwide debate, thereby contributes to further critical interpretations of global and Western-influenced environmental protection instruments. The knowledge about the symbolic power of national parks at the international level also demonstrates the opportunities offered by the national park concept. The following considerations of the various roles of the national park in post-acuerdo times in post-FARC regions provide a valuable basis for further in-depth studies on the resolution of socio-ecological conflicts between environmental protection and local populations in Meta, Colombia and around the world.

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