Other CitiesArauca, Tunja, Yopal, Medellin, Leticia, Barranquilla, Cartagena
AreaTotal 1,141,748 km2
Population(2009 est) 44,760,630
Country Profile: Colombia
Colombia is a country in north-western South America. Colombia is bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil, to the south by Ecuador and Peru, to the north by the Caribbean Sea, to the north west by Panama and to the west by the Pacific Ocean. Colombia also shares maritime borders with Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Colombia is the 26th largest nation in the world and the fourth largest in South America (after Brazil, Argentina, and Peru). It has the 29th largest population in the world and the second largest in South America, after Brazil. Colombia has the third largest Spanish-speaking population in the world after Mexico and Spain.
Climate Change Effects
The climate of Colombia is primarily determined by its proximity to the equator, with tropical and isothermal climate predominating. Other influences are the trade winds and the effect of the Intertropical Convergence Zone on precipitation. Colombia is also affected by the El Niño and La Niña phenomena. Colombia's Pacific coast has one of the highest levels of rainfall in the world, with the south east often drenched by more than 200 in (500 cm) of rain per year. Global warming climate changes have made these extreme weather situations even more intense and threaten the vast coastline of Colombia.
The environmental challenges faced by Colombia are caused by both natural hazards and human agency. Many natural hazards result from Colombia's position along the Pacific Ring of Fire and the consequent geological instability. Colombia has 15 major volcanoes, the eruptions of which have on occasion resulted in substantial loss of life, such as at Armero in 1985, and geological faults that have caused numerous devastating earthquakes, such as the 1999 Armenia earthquake. Heavy floods both in mountainous areas and in low-lying watersheds and coastal regions regularly cause deaths and considerable damage to property during the rainy seasons. Rainfall intensities vary with the El Niño Southern Oscillation which occurs in unpredictable cycles, at times causing especially severe flooding.
Human induced deforestation has substantially changed the Andean landscape and is creeping into the rainforests of Amazonia and the Pacific coast. Deforestation is also linked to the conversion of lowland tropical forests to oil palm plantations.
Bio-Fuels and Energy
Colombia is discussing current trends and challenges as well as recent international developments in the biofuels sector with the intention of contributing to the development of a sustainable and competitive biofuels strategy for Colombia and the region. Colombia knows that non-renewable resources are a fuel source of the past and that if Colombia is to continue to flourish, then they must develop new renewable forms of energy for their nation, such as wind, solar and hydroelectric. They have taken the initiative in South America and have undergone research and studies to develop and produce these renewable forms of energy.
In spite of the difficulties presented by serious internal armed conflict, Colombia's economy grew steadily in the latter part of the twentieth century, with gross domestic product (GDP) increasing at an average rate of over 4% per year between 1970 and 1998. The Colombian economy continues to be one of the fastest growing economies in South America and has been steadily growing over the past two decades. Furthermore, the Colombian stock exchange climbed from 1,000 points at its creation in July 2001 to over 7,300 points by November 2009.
Colombia has a network of national highways maintained by the Instituto Nacional de Vías or INVIAS (National Institute of Roadways) government agency under the Ministry of Transport. The Pan-American Highway travels through Colombia, connecting the country with Venezuela to the east and Ecuador to the south. Colombia's principal airport is El Dorado International Airport in Bogotá. Several national airlines and international airlines operate from El Dorado. Because of its central location in Colombia and America, it is preferred by national land transportation providers, as well as national and international air transportation providers.
Colombia will look to continue to grow in the near future, partly because of its wealth of natural resources, but also because of the economic reform policies enacted by the government. Also Colombia has become a leader in South America in terms of renewable energy research and cliamte change/global warming research.
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