Photograph of a landscape with four wind turbines.
The peaceful appearance is misleading: Wind park in La Guajira in northern Colombia. Photo: © Martin Gubsch/PRIF.

Resisting Energy Transition? Understanding Roadblocks in Northern Colombia

La Guajira in northern Colombia has seen a disproportionate number of roadblocks recently, especially connected to wind park construction sites, staged by people demanding that the state implement economic, social, and physical security improvements. This conflict is an example of local impacts of the global energy transition on historically marginalized people. In this Spotlight we argue that La Guajira is a prime case showing how the energy transition is leveraged to indirectly address the state through private companies.


Haus mit kolumbianischer Flagge und mehreren Plakaten von Gustavo Petro und Francia Márquez mit den Aufschriften "Petro Presidente" und "Nariño es potencia de vida"
Der Sieg von Gustavo Petro bei den Präsidentschaftswahlen in Kolumbien kann schon jetzt als Zäsur verstanden werden. | Photo: © Leidy Patricia Jojoa via flickr

Kolumbien nach der Präsidentschaftswahl: Fünf Chancen und eine Herausforderung für die deutsche Außen- und Entwicklungspolitik

Kolumbien hat gewählt: In einem polarisierten Wahlkampf setzte sich bei den Präsidentschaftswahlen vom 19. Juni 2022 der linksgerichtete Kandidat Gustavo Petro knapp gegen den Rechtspopulisten Rodolfo Hernández durch. Dieser hat seine Niederlage öffentlich eingestanden. Ab dem 7. August wird das Land erstmals von einem linksgerichteten Präsidenten geführt und mit der Aktivistin Francia Márquez wird zum ersten Mal in der Geschichte des Landes eine Afrokolumbianerin das Amt der Vizepräsidentin bekleiden. Dieser Blogbeitrag skizziert fünf Chancen und eine Herausforderung für die deutsche Außen- und Entwicklungspolitik, um die guten Beziehungen zu dem lateinamerikanischen Schwergewicht Kolumbien fortzuführen und weiter auszubauen.


Oil raffinery and Cristo Petrolero statue in Barrancabermeja, Santander Department. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons | CC BY 3.0

Protests against new fracking projects in Colombia

A new fracking initiative has been formalized by the Colombian government in cooperation with the state enterprise Ecopetrol. The first of four exploratory projects will take place in Puerto Wilches, a small community located next to the Magdalena River, one of the largest in Colombia. Fracking has been associated with water pollution, which could lead to severe consequences for local people’s livelihoods and the region as a whole. Social and environmental activists have received death threats and have grown increasingly vulnerable since 2016. Nevertheless, protests have emerged and will likely continue, despite COVID-19 restrictions.


A minke whale in the antarctica
A minke whale in the antarctica | Photo: ravas51 | CC BY SA 2.0

Is the commercial whaling ban in danger? Japan’s withdrawal from the International Whaling Commission

After decades of whaling under an exemption for scientific research, Japan withdrew from the International Whaling Commission last month, formally resuming commercial whaling. What effects will this have on the commission, and the international ban on commercial whaling in general? While the ban has been weakened over the past decades, the recent withdrawal does not necessarily sound the death knell. Rather, it could also mean the end of decades of deadlock in the commission. More broadly, the Japanese exit raises questions of dealing with international challenges through inclusive institutions and commissions – Should inclusivity be pursued at any cost, or can it be productive to proceed on different tracks?


Gabon ivory
Illegal ivory is burned in Gabon | Photo: animalrescueblog | CC BY-NC 2.0

Elephant in the Room: the Illegal Ivory Trade, Wildlife and War

The African Elephant is a keystone species, strongly affecting the ecosystems in which they live. The recent drop in elephant populations across the African continent are therefore cause for major concern in the realm of wildlife conservation. However, this downturn is not only cause for ecological concern. The illegal trade in ivory is an important source of revenue for armed groups across the African continent, and highlights questions of governance, corruption, and organized crime. What are the key drivers of illegal elephant killing? What consequences does the trade have, ranging from the local to the international level? How can the trade be halted as a means of warfare financing and ongoing corruption?