Preparing for Peace – Support to Antioquia´s Regional Peace Programme

As of February 2015, the Berghof Foundation supports Antioquia's regional programme "Let's prepare for peace". Building "peace from within the territories" is an approach called for by Colombian High Commissioner for Peace Sergio Jaramillo and advocated by many social movements as well as some regional governments, among them Antioquia. Hence, this project complements national efforts of the current peace talks between the FARC and the Colombian government with a much-needed regional perspective.

Concretely, the Berghof Foundation will accompany the design, implementation and evaluation of a set of pilot interventions implemented by the peace programme in the Bajo Cauca region on a strategic and methodological level. The objective is to create a set of lessons learned from these pilot activities so that they inform subsequent peace efforts within Antioquia and other regions of Colombia.

A video provided by the local collective on communication illustrates what the pilot project has achieved in the communities of the Bajo Cauca region.

Timeframe

February - October 2015

Conflict Setting

The Colombian government and the FARC entered peace negotiations in 2012. Preliminary agreement has so far been reached on the three topics of rural development, political participation, and dealing with illicit crops and drug trafficking. However, agreement on the remaining two issues - caring for victims and ending the armed conflict - is still outstanding. A peace accord will only be reached if parties come to an agreement on all five topics on the agenda. Moreover, official negotiations with other guerilla groups involved in the conflict have not yet taken place.

All in all, 50 years of armed struggle have led to a complex conflict dynamic and have heavily impacted the population. This impact should be taken into account in the peace process while efforts to address the problems associated with it need to start now already and continue throughout the post-agreement phase.

Approach

We support the peace programme Preparémonos para la Paz (PPP) of the Antioquian regional government in acquiring important lessons learned from the implementation of their programme on a local level. A set of pilot interventions in rural villages in Bajo Cauca addresses four of PPP's seven lines of action - i.e. democratic culture, collective memory, reconstruction of the social fabric, and reintegration - in workshops with local community representatives. The Berghof Foundation accompanies the design, implementation and systematization of these interventions on a strategic and methodological level.

On the departmental level, the project team brings together key actors with expertise and an active role in peacebuilding in Colombia and provides space for joint reflection on the experiences of the project. Both PPP's efforts of integrating the different thematic lines of their programme as well as a project design that connects local, regional, national and international actors ensure a multi-level and multi-dimensional approach.

Aims and outcomes

The goal of the project is to generate a set of lessons learned that will inform future peacebuilding initiatives with a special focus on territorial peace ("paz territorial"). For this purpose, a publication and a video that capture the key lessons of the project will be produced and disseminated. The creation of the Consultative Committee aims to add sustainability to the efforts by involving actors that remain active in the field beyond October when a new administration takes over. The specific approach of Preparémonos para la Paz on which the project interventions are based could then be incorporated into Antioquia's multi-year regional development plan as well as the municipal development plans that will be drafted in 2016.

Key actors

The project is a joint endeavor of the Government of Antioquia via its peace programme Preparémonos para la Paz and the Berghof Foundation. Beyond PPP and Berghof staff, the project team includes thematic experts from the Antioquian government. Additionally, the Consultative Committee brings together key actors from civil society, the church, academia, and international organisations involved in peacebuilding, as well as national government officials concerned with peace.

Our project partner is the peace programme Preparémonos para la Paz of the Government of Antioquia.

The project is financed by the ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen) with funds provided by the German Federal Foreign Office.

On a local level, the project team implements a variety of workshops and activities in two communities in Bajo Cauca, a region heavily impacted by the armed conflict and a breeding ground for resource and land conflicts. Workshops therefore cover topics such as collective memory, democratic culture, and reconstructing the social fabric of the communities in order to lay the foundations for peaceful co-existence.

These efforts are demonstrated in a short video provided by the Antioquian government's peace programme and the local collective on communication.

In addition, a communal activity is being conceived by each community that is led by its vision of the future. It involves an agreement on shared values and how these are lived in everyday communal life.

On a regional level, a Consultative Committee for the project and PPP at large has been established that consists of key governmental and civil society actors active in peacebuilding. Through reflection and discussion, the committee provides feedback based on members' experiences and works towards ensuring the sustainability of the efforts by informing activities beyond the time frame of the project and the elections in October.

Finally, PPP and the Berghof Foundation will publish a systematisation of the experience as a whole, capturing the lessons learned during the process. Through the dissemination among key actors in the peacebuilding field, both in Antioquia and Colombia in general, the publication aims to inform similar peacebuilding activities in the future.

  • Isabel Cristina Correa Tamayo, Carlos Hernán Fernández Niño, Iván Marulanda Gómez et al.: Nuestro territorio, nuestra paz. 2015. Medellín. Aprendizajes para la construcción de paz territorial con comunidades campesinas en Antioquia (Colombia) – Un insumo para los departamentos. PDF >
  • Barbara Unger, Claire Launay-Gama, Mauricio García Durán et al.: Diez Propuestas para la paz en Colombia desde la regiones. 2014. Berlin, Bogotá & Paris. PDF >