Colombia: A peace agreement that ignores differential approaches

Reports from various entities monitoring the peace process agree that the degree of implementation of the whole Agreement is limited to the legislative execution of the commitments, there is little progress in actual delivery of the transformative challenges of the Agreement. The implementation of the chapters on gender and ethnicity, to date, follows the same logic and there’s only advancements in normative and enunciative matters, but none at all has been made in the development of policies containing concrete actions.

Point 1, Comprehensive Rural Reform, foresees 25 gender measures, of which only 2 have been implemented, 16 show partial progress and 7 show no progress. The 2 measures already implemented are: i. Participation in the formulation of Development Programs with a Land Approach (in Spanish Programas de Desarrollo con Enfoque Territorial, PDET) and ii. A special line of loans with long-term subsidies for the purchase of land offering special measures for countryside women.

Although there is political will for women to participate in PDET formulation scenarios, it is important to note that there is not effective participation, in the sense of having the relevant information to achieve spaces with a deep look at their territories.

In the same logic, social organizations denunciate that the pillars of the implementation of RRI1, around which the participatory planning processes of the PDET must be articulated, do not allow strategic and transversal integration in environmental, gender, ethnic and rural issues. Many organizations reported that women’s participation in each pillar was limited because, in the opinion of the facilitators, the pillars were not related exclusively to women issues, so they were left on their own to make brief proposals which were not transversally integrated.

It must be recognized that the LGBTI population is not taken into account in the indicators, or statistics of the competent entities, neither in the Framework Implementation Plan (in Spanish: Plan Marco de Implementación, PMI); nor on specific positive measures to guarantee their access to the provisions of the RRI.

The PMI establishes 13 gender-based indicators in the National Comprehensive Plan for the Substitution of Illicit Cultures (in Spanish: Plan Nacional Integral de Sustitución de Cultivos de Uso Ilícito PNIS). The main progress is the building of the Protocol for the incorporation of the gender approach in the PNIS, whose impact will depend on the stages for the recognition of this approach to its effective materialization with concrete positive actions, having effects on the reduction of gaps for women farmers, thereby ensuring the participation of LGBTI people and women from ethnic communities2.

The Final Agreement also included a commitment to adopt the ethnic perspective into the implementation process; however, it is virtually unrecognized. National RRI plans have not been agreed with ethnic communities, a Reincorporation and Harmonization Program has not yet been designed to provide differential conditions to the ethnic population, PNIS has not a special component to serve the ethnic peoples and they were not beneficiaries of the measures for access to land either.

Only compliance with the commitment to create the Special High-Level Body with Ethnic Peoples (in Spanish: Instancia Especial de Alto Nivel con Pueblos Étnicos IEANPE) is verified, its function is to serve as a body of advisor and first-rate interlocutor before the CSIVI3. The body was created in 2017 but could not function due to lack of funding; it was only until 2020 that resources were allocated to its operation.

In the participatory exercises for the construction of PDETs, an attempt was made to incorporate the ethnic approach, but this process was not successful. According to the Centre for Political Thought and Dialogue4, the main faults presented by the PDET construction exercises were:

  • To impose a municipal logic that is not in harmony with the ethnic territorial logic. The standardization of all territories according to a municipal concept has blurred the territorialization of ethnic peoples.
  • To organize ethnic citizen initiatives within the framework of pillars conceptually distant from visions of community development.
  • Do not articulate previous planning exercises carried out by the people themselves, such as life plans or ethno-development plans, with PDET initiatives.
  • The marginality of ethnic initiatives in the sub-regional phase. Ethnic initiatives at the sub-regional stage were marginal compared to the rest of the initiatives, which is very evident in the infrastructure and land adequacy pillar.
  • Weaknesses in the characterization of peoples and ethnic communities in each of the sub-regions.
  • Neither the routes, which are not incorporated, nor the implementation deadlines have been defined, not even a budgetary compliance framework.

Despite the 4 years that have elapsed since the signing of a peace agreement comprising an ethnic chapter, serious human rights violations persist in the territories of ethnic communities: to date, 249 indigenous leaders have been assassinated, massacres have continued. The armed clash resulted in the forced displacement of 7,000 indigenous people in different parts of the country, 4,000 children died of malnutrition, forced recruitment in indigenous territories increased by 117% as part of the pandemic, and only in the Chocó department there are 10,000 indigenous people in detention and indigenous girls and women continue to be victims of sexual violence by members of the national army.

Cover Image: Colombia Informa

1 The 8 pillars are: i. Social organization of rural land ownership and land use; ii. Infrastructure and land adaptation; iii. Health; iv. Rural education and early childhood; v. Rural housing, drinking water and basic rural sanitation; vi. Economic recovery and agricultural production; vii. System of progressive guarantee of the right to food; and viii. Reconciliation, coexistence and peacebuilding.

2 Secretaría Técnica del Componente Internacional de Verificación (2020). Cuarto informe de verificación de la implementación del enfoque de género en el Acuerdo Final de Paz en Colombia.

3 Comisión de seguimiento, impulso y verificación a la implementación del acuerdo de paz – CSIVI, in English: Commission for monitoring, promoting and verifying the implementation of the Peace Agreement.

4 Centro de Pensamiento y diálogo político – CEPDIPO (2020). Documento de trabajo 22 Una perspectiva territorial de la implementación sin reconocimiento y garantías del enfoque étnico.