Since last year, Congress has processed a file Draft Law 218 of 2020, which aims to adopt measures aimed at the effective conservation, scientific study, identification, restoration, and sustainable use of cavernous heritage within the national territorythat is, to protect the valuable natural and scientific resources that include more than 300 caves located in the Colombian territory, in Santander, San Andrés and Huila.
The bill, which had been unanimously approved in the Sixth Committee and then in the Senate plenary, was awaiting approval by the Senate, to finally go to presidential sanction.
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However, his future may now be uncertain due to The concept issued by the Ministry of Mines and Energy at the end of February, in which it asks the Sixth Committee to preserve it. A fact that provoked reactions within the Colombian and international scientific community, most recently by the Colombian Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences.
The Academy, which has served as an advisory body to the national government since the term of President Enrique Olaya Herrera, sent a letter to the officials of the House of Representatives who today have the responsibility to give the remaining process to the project. for a presidential sanction and became law, expressing support for the initiative whose creation also accompanied the entity.
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“The Colombian Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences respectfully expresses its full support for the approval of Bill No. 643 of the Chamber 2021 – 218 of 2020 of the Senate as being of fundamental importance to achieving the long-awaited conservation of the nature of the resources and biodiversity of the countrythreatened for various reasons,” stated the statement signed by the President of the Academy, Enrique Forero.
The Association of Scholars also states that this bill, inspired by the special EL TIEMPO “Underground Colombia”, during which journalist Nicolás Bustamante has entered some of the most surprising and challenging caves in the whole country, has been consolidated in the last three years in close cooperation with trade unions on the subject, The scientific and academic community, journalists and speleologists.
“The various contributions received are evidenced by the strength of the project under discussion, which represents a significant advance towards the protection of not only the Colombian cave heritage, but the protection of all the cultural and ecological riches held by the karst regions of the country, including their importance as underground water reservoirs,” as Forero says.
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They ask that with the approval of the law, Colombia joins the international effort that seeks to educate about the importance of these unknown natural resources, around which in 2021 and 2022 the world celebrates the International Year of Caves and Karst Regions. General Caves and Karst).
Other offers of support
Another organization that has shown support for the Cave Protection Bill is Paleontological Federation of Latin America and the Caribbean (Fealc). In a statement, the entity “directed an urgent call, first to the critics of the proposed law, to rethink and stop limiting the future benefit of the Colombian people, interfering with the consensual and scientifically justified approval of this project and secondly for the citizens of the Colombian community to assert their rights and go to their representatives and raise the unequivocal interest in which of this law to protect the Colombian speleological heritage.”
The Brazilian Paleontological Society They also showed their support and sent a letter to the Secretary of the Sixth Committee of the House of Representatives, Diana Marcela Morales, asking the plenary to approve Bill No. 643 of 2021 – 218 of 2020 of the Senate without amendments to the text. .
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