While threats of violence marred recent legislative campaigns in Colombia, the March 11 election was Colombia’s most peaceful in decades. Although the FARC’s new political party underperformed, its comprehensive demobilization was palpable and the National Liberation Army (ELN), the country’s second-largest rebel group, respected a temporary unilateral ceasefire. For the first time in 50 years, ballots were cast freely throughout the country and not a single incident of violence was recorded.

With the composition of Colombia’s next Congress set, jockeying and coalition-building among the main candidates is fully underway ahead of the May 27 presidential polls. The outcome will have important implications for the precarious implementation of the 2016 FARC peace accord, which has yet to tackle key political and agrarian reforms, and the next president will also have to chart a way forward for the dialogues with the ELN as talks in Quito race against the clock to design a new indefinite bilateral ceasefire and cement the parameters for public participation in future negotiations.

On April 16 from 9:30-11:30 a.m., the U.S. Institute of Peace hosted a discussion on security and protection throughout the electoral process, analysis of the impact the outcome may have on the implementation of the FARC peace agreement, and the implications for the ongoing process with the ELN. The event was be livestreamed, and translation will be provided.

To review the conversation on Twitter, use #ColombiaPeaceForum.


Alejandra Barrios
Director, Electoral Observation Mission and former President of the Global Network of Domestic Electoral Monitors

Juanita Goebertus
Colombian Congresswoman, Former Member of the Government Peace Delegation with the FARC

Mark Schneider
Senior Advisor, Center for Strategic and International Studies

Jonas Claes
Senior Program Officer, Preventing Election Violence, U.S. Institute of Peace

Steve Hege, Moderator
Senior Program Officer, Security & Justice, U.S. Institute of Peace

Related Publications

COVID-19 and Conflict: Colombia

COVID-19 and Conflict: Colombia

Thursday, August 6, 2020

By: Steve Hege

Though a 2016 peace agreement ended Colombia’s decades-long conflict with the FARC, armed strife continues to strain the country’s political and security institutions, making an effective pandemic response all the more challenging. Violence against social leaders and former combatants has risen at an alarming pace, and the implementation of much-needed reforms outlined in the peace accord has stalled. Meanwhile, armed groups have capitalized on the virus to bolster their influence by imposing their own repressive local lockdowns and consolidating control over illicit trade. In this #COVIDandConflict video, our Steve Hege looks at how the virus has impacted Colombia and what opportunities may still exist to advance peace.

Type: Blog

Global Health

Measuring Collective Impact: Creating a Framework for Assessing Multiple Peacebuilding Projects in Colombia

Measuring Collective Impact: Creating a Framework for Assessing Multiple Peacebuilding Projects in Colombia

Thursday, July 30, 2020

By: Diego Benitez

USIP implemented its Initiative to Measure Peace and Conflict (IMPACT) program first in the Central African Republic and later in Colombia, where it worked directly with peacebuilding organizations to gauge their collective impact on fostering reconciliation in the wake of the 2016 peace accord between the government and FARC rebels. Drawing on the challenges encountered and lessons learned, this report provides suggestions for how future iterations of the IMPACT approach can help policymakers, donors, and practitioners achieve greater and more cost-effective results from the peacebuilding projects they support.

Type: Special Report

Education & Training

Colombia’s Imperfect Peace Could Provide a Roadmap for Afghanistan

Colombia’s Imperfect Peace Could Provide a Roadmap for Afghanistan

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

By: Belquis Ahmadi; Maria Antonia Montes

The Afghan peace process was jumpstarted in September 2018 when President Trump appointed Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad as special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation. Since then, Khalilzad has led 10 rounds of U.S.-Taliban talks, with negotiations focusing on two issues: ensuring the Taliban’s commitment to prevent transnational terrorists from using Afghanistan as a base for attacks, and a U.S. military withdrawal. As the search for peace in Afghanistan continues, what lessons can be learned from other peace processes that could apply to Afghanistan? Colombia’s imperfect peace agreement with the FARC is one especially relevant international reference point for Afghanistan—we explain why.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Peace Processes

View All Publications