Colombia encompasses an area of more than 1.1 million square kilometers and is the only country in South America with both a Caribbean and Pacific Coastline. With an estimated population of 44.5 million, Colombia is the third most populous country in Latin America. Even though Colombia is ranked 77th in the Human Development Index and has an upper middle-income country status and annual GDP of 234 billion USD, it is one of the most unequal countries in the world – 52.6 percent of the total population lives below the poverty line and this figure reaches 69 percent in rural areas. Colombia has one of the highest rates of internally displaced people (IDP) in the world due to civil conflicts, leaving as many as 3.7 million especially vulnerable to climate change. The majority of the population resides in two areas: the elevated Andes where water shortages and land degradation already pose a threat, and in the coastal and insular areas where the expected increase in sea level and floods will affect human settlements and economic activities. In addition, the country presents a high incidence and extreme weather and disasters associated to climate conditions and vulnerability. Colombia is rich in natural resources and is estimated to hold 10 – 15 percent of the world’s biodiversity. Climate change impacts are expected to pose significant and long-term effects on fragile and unique ecosystems and accelerate the pace of land degradation, impact water quality and agricultural production, contribute to the decline of biodiversity of species such as high altitude flora and fauna and unique corals in the western Caribbean, and increase the exposure of its citizens to tropical vector diseases, such as Malaria and Dengue.
Selected Indicators for Impacts and Vulnerabilities