5 December 2016
FAO's role in supporting the implementation of the
Comprehensive Rural Reform for the realization of
peace in Colombia
Excellency Mr. Juan Mesa Zuleta, Ambassador of Colombia to Italy and Permanent Representative to FAO;
Excellency Ambassador Jan Tombinski, Permanent Representative of the European Union to FAO;
Mr. Rafael Zavala, FAO Representative in Colombia;
Mr. César Jerez, Representative of the National Association of Peasant Reserve Zones (ANZORC);
Colleagues from FAO;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
We must celebrate all the countries that opt for peace. And Colombia has made this choice.
Peace is a call to rebirth. It opens a new path and endless possibilities.
It is, without doubt, the greatest legacy that a new generation can inherit.
But many times it is only reached after an enormous sacrifice.
And in post-conflict situations, as in Colombia, peace must be re-created at every moment and at every level.
In that sense, peace is similar to sustainable development.
Sustainable development can’t be taken for granted either.
It is an option, a joint decision to end inequality, hunger and poverty.
Peace and sustainable development are interdependent. There is neither peace without sustainable development, nor sustainable development without peace.
But both have a fundamental precondition: that all citizens have access to a dignified life and the food necessary to lead a healthy life.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Peace, rural development and food security are at the core of Colombia's new Peace Agreement.
That is why FAO is committed to supporting the Colombian Government so that the Peace Agreement has a direct impact on food security, rural poverty reduction and sustainable management of natural resources.
The agreement proposes a profound change in the rural areas of the country.
It will allow the diversification of food production, improve incomes and promote governance of land and natural resource tenure.
FAO has a wealth of experience in these areas that it can offer the Colombian Government, but it does not have all the answers.
These responses will arise from the real needs of communities, their views, their perseverance and mutual trust.
But to be effective, these must be established together with civil society and also with institutions that have been historically distant from the state.
As FAO, we can support the country in creating a new policy that addresses access to and restitution of land based on the Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Land Tenure Governance.
We can also promote cooperation between the parties for the mobilization of resources for the Rapid Response Strategy projects, defined by the Government in its post-conflict policy.
One aspect that will be key to strengthening the impacts of the Peace Agreement will be to link social, productive and environmental policies.
FAO can help assess the coverage and functioning of social protection programs to support the most vulnerable, linking them with family farming through public procurement.
This will help rebuild the rural areas of the Colombian countryside.
The success of this peace process also requires the inclusion of those left behind.
Indigenous and Afro-descendant communities, young people and rural women must make their voice heard and actively participate in the reconstruction of peace in Colombia.
Unleashing this potential will require the creation of laws to guarantee the right to food.
A task in which the Parliamentary Front against the hunger of Colombia can play a key role.
In addition, we need to galvanize the existing knowledge in Colombia.
We must link universities and research institutions with the peace process, and mobilize the resources that will give future sustainability to the transformation process.
I would like to end by thanking the Government of Colombia for giving FAO the privilege of being able to take part in this historic process.
I wish you all a fruitful discussion session that will lead us to a new Colombia, free from conflicts, hunger, malnutrition and extreme poverty.
A Colombia based on peace and sustainable development.
Thank you very much.