FAO's commitment to peace and resilience in Colombia

A socially and environmentally sustainable new Colombian countryside

02/11/2018 - 

Agriculture has been one of the most affected sectors during the 50 years of internal armed conflict in Colombia, which saw over 8 million people officially registered as victims and some 7 million people internally displaced. With the end of the conflict in 2016, agriculture has become one of the most strategic sectors for maintaining and recovering the social fabric throughout the country, achieving equity, and constructing peace.

Climatic variability has also severely impacted national agricultural production in Colombia. With remarkable frequency and intensity, events related to the El Niño and La Niña phenomena — landslides, floods, storms and drought — have caused the loss of crops, livestock, infrastructure and associated public assets.

As a result, in 2017, there were 4.9 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in Colombia, of whom 2.3 million required food assistance. Against this backdrop, FAO designed a work strategy for Colombia that aligns with the country’s momentous peace agreement and its implementation. This new strategy defined concrete objectives to implement what had been established in FAO’s 2015-2019 Country Programming Framework (CPF).

At FAO, the CPF establishes the strategic link between a country’s development goals and FAO’s Strategic Framework and MediumTerm Plan (MTP). In this case, the result—The FAO Resilience Programme in Colombia—underlines resilience building as critical to post-conflict scenarios, especially in areas where natural disasters are recurrent.

Launched in 2017 the three-year programme aims to strengthen the technical capacities of institutions and communities in order to protect livelihoods; address the management of agroclimate and social crises; support vulnerable rural communities; generate strategies for the inclusion of small-scale vulnerable farmers in family agriculture markets; support historical memory by fostering traditional methods of production and consumption; and ensure the human right to food.

In addition the programme aspires to strengthen social cohesion by using training methods based on active participation by communities, as well as to create a space for humanitarian action in areas where illegal armed groups are still present. Direct beneficiaries include four government institutions, five departmental governments, 13 municipal councils, as well as 2 600 families participating in implementation of interventions on the ground.

The peace agreement also calls for a 'comprehensive rural reform' agenda which entails three immediate challenging tasks to which FAO can make valuable contributions. First, farmers’ livelihoods can be improved through value chains that link food production and consumption, ensuring that they have access to functioning local markets.

Second, agricultural production in the country can be sustainable through effective management of the deforestation linked to generating new arable land. FAO can contribute to this process through its VGGT (Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security). And finally, transboundary plant and animal health issues are key, since their spread is affected both by climate change and by the end of armed conflict.  

Resource partner: Sweden (SIDA)

SDGs: 1, 2, 8, 13

Regional Initiative: RIE3 - Sustainable use of natural resources, adaptation to climate change and disasters risk management

Photo: Family looks out their window in Morra Municipality, Cabimba Village, Cambodia

 ©Magnum Photos/Patrick Zachman