Cornwall-based Eden Project announces ‘new Eden’ for South America

Cornwall-based The Eden Project has used the Glasgow COP26 summit to announce plans to open its first South American site as one of several around the world.

The revelation, made at the Eden Project’s Pavilion at the conference, gave details of an Eden in Colombia’s Meta region.

The Eden Project, which opened its St Austell site in a former clay pit in 2001, is now planning a series of attractions around the globe. These include “New Edens”’ in China, Australia, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Africa and the USA, alongside more planned for the UK including in Morecambe, Dundee, Derry-Londonderry, and Portland. Eden’s ambition is to build a new Eden on every inhabited continent.

The Eden Project International team will now work alongside the Colombian Ministry of the Environment and the educational Humboldt Institute to establish how an Eden Project in the Meta region of Colombia might look, ensuring that it continues to embody the Eden ethos of highlighting the importance of the natural world.

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The process will include the early stages of site investigation and vision development, with the first phase expected to be completed by the end of 2021.

Announcing the launch of what would become the first Eden Project in South America, Eden Project International chief executive David Harland said: “We are excited to start this journey of discovery together to explore the creation of an Eden Project for Colombia, and the high level attendees at today’s event reflects just how important this is for both countries.

“Colombia is a country of huge natural world riches and is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, as well as having varied cultures and a rich history.

“We relish the opportunity to work in such an incredible environment and look forward to working with our partners to bring the Eden message to South America for the first time at scale.”

Colombian President Iván Duque said: “The opportunity to bring such an influential and iconic institution as Eden Project to Colombia is testament to the work we have done to better understand and promote our outstanding biodiversity and sustainability, including pledging some of the most ambitious net zero carbon emission and net zero deforestation targets in the region.

“Today’s announcement is also a reflection of the powerful partnership that exists between the UK and Colombia, and we hope that this new project will foster stronger ties between our two countries, including around ecotourism, research, environmental education and orange economy (creative economy).

“We look forward to welcoming Colombian, British and other international visitors to the department of Meta so that they can discover the megadiversity of this special corner of Colombia and throughout the rest of the country.”

David Harland, chief executive of Eden Project International, Sir Tim Smit, co-founder of the Eden Project, and Edward Benthall, chairman of the Eden Trust, at the launch of Eden Project Colombia in Glasgow

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park, Minister for Pacific and the Environment, said: “Colombia is one of the wonders of the world, a country of near-unparalleled beauty and a biodiversity superpower.

“Protecting its nature, upon which the whole world relies, and at a time when so many natural systems are under threat, is of paramount importance.

“I‘m confident that Eden Colombia will be a source of joy and inspiration, supporting the great work the country is already doing on the social, ecological and economic regeneration of the Meta region, after so many difficult decades for communities there.

“The UK is committed to continuing to work with Colombia, and the strong partnership between our two countries is grounded in the understanding that securing the future of Colombia’s incredible land and ocean will bolster a sustainable peace and prosperity for the Colombian people – and that is vitally important for our shared future as well.”

Carlos Correa, Colombia’s Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development, said: “The immersive ethos of the Eden Project will enable visitors to the proposed new site in our Meta region the chance to truly experience Colombia’s amazing biodiversity, providing a space for them to learn and become advocates for the importance of conservation.

“As well as being an epicentre of megadiversity in Colombia, Meta is also a post-conflict region. The arrival of an Eden Project will galvanise the sustainable reactivation of the region and complement our wider efforts within the Environment Ministry to promote sustainable tourism, green business, environmental education and research and development as key pillars for Colombia’s social and economic future.”

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Hernando García, director of Colombia’s Humboldt Institute, who will support the feasibility study in Colombia, said: “Colombia is an important biodiversity hotspot, which makes it one of the most interesting places to conduct environmental scientific research and to develop a modern, productive and sustainable economy.

“The proposed location of the Eden Project in Meta is where some of the country’s most biodiverse regions collide: the Amazon rainforest, the Andes mountain range and the Orinoquía plains and will undoubtedly be the catalyst for nature-based productive activities, research, tourism and related activities that will boost prosperity and promote sustainability here. It’s a landmark project for Colombia that we very much hope will become a reality.”

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William TelfordBusiness Editor, Plymouth Live