Women have been both victims and combatants throughout Colombia’s history of civil conflicts. But it wasn’t until recently that they were included as active negotiators in the peacebuilding process. Viviana Sarmiento, a Colombian political scientist and researcher, discusses how Colombian women contributed to the design and implementation of 2016 FARC peace accords, the opportunity to bring gender-inclusive perspectives into negotiations with other armed groups, and what Colombian women can teach others around the world about women’s inclusion in peacebuilding.
The Latest @ USIP: Colombian Women’s Contribution to Peacebuilding
Colombian Civic Leader Offers a Grassroots Strategy for Peace
Nine months into new efforts by Colombia’s administration to achieve “total peace” with remaining armed groups following decades of civil war, that process should make room for the nation’s thousands of grassroots and community organizations to strengthen peace locally when the fighting stops, says a prominent civic leader from one of the country’s most violent regions. Stabilizing Colombia, where migration toward the United States and other countries soared last year, will require steady support from U.S. and international partners, said Maria Eugenia Mosquera Riascos, who helps lead a Colombian network of 140 civic and community organizations working to end violence.
Armed Force Isn’t Saving Colombia’s Forests, But a New Effort Might
In six years since Colombia signed a peace agreement with its largest rebel movement, farmers, miners, loggers and armed groups have surged into the nation’s forests, felling trees and accelerating deforestation and its ills: a destabilized global climate and destruction of biodiversity and local communities’ habitats. As Colombia struggles to establish effective governance, the state is trying to shift away from previous reliance on military force to curb deforestation, a strategy that bred mistrust and violent conflict with local communities. Now a Colombian university is developing more effective forest-protection techniques to build sustainable solutions with those communities — an approach that can be shared globally.
Colombia’s Renewed Peace Talks with ELN Rebels Provide Historic Opportunity
As part of its ambitious “Total Peace” agenda, the new Colombian government recently restarted peace talks with the National Liberation Army (ELN), marking the first new negotiations since January 2019. And while this cycle of talks adopted the same agenda and process framework as the previous efforts, current President Gustavo Petro appointed a diverse and broad negotiations team in the hopes of generating early momentum and support. Petro intends to advance on partial accords as quickly as possible — building up to a comprehensive agreement before his brief four-year term in office is complete.
The Latest @ USIP: Resurgent Efforts in Colombia’s Peace Process
Newly elected Colombian President Gustavo Petro has made “total peace” a cornerstone of his agenda, looking to jump-start implementation of the 2016 FARC peace agreement and establish negotiations with the ELN and various other armed groups. Monsignor Hector Fabio Henao, who serves as a delegate of the Episcopal Conference of Colombia for relations between the Catholic Church and the Colombian government, discusses how the Church is working at the grassroots level to address the humanitarian situation in conflict-affected areas and efforts to build consensus among civil society and government officials regarding next steps in the peace process.