One of the biggest challenges of the peace agreement will be its implementation at a sub-national level (paz territorial) and the promotion of a post-conflict society. This especially applies to the regions affected most by the armed conflict and are characterized by violent struggles over access to land and natural resources as well as by a lack of cultural recognition, social and political participation as well as territorial self-determination of local communities.
Over the years, the Colombian conflict has seen many alterations, depending on political and economic factors and with changing actors. Currently, numerous economic and social factors lead to the appearance of new or the aggravation of existing conflicts about land and territorial control.
This clearly illustrates that one of the core issues of the Colombian conflict, i.e. the question on land, has to be at the heart of the social debate in order to achieve sustainable peace.
The CAPAZ aims at contributing to developing appropriate solutions by analyzing root causes of the conflict and their relation with the peace agreement. It will focus on political participation and land reform, support education, and contribute to the development of training in support of democracy building and security sector reform.
As the conflict had devastating impacts especially in rural areas, efforts have to be supported to establish, recover and strengthen public institutions in these areas. This includes strengthening local government and participation of civil society. Lessons learned during a failed process of decentralization in the early 1990s will be taken into account.
Moreover, the recently developed constitutional protection of indigenous and Afro-Colombian people did not prevent their displacement in pursuance of economic interests.
There is still a lack of effective governance structures and widespread corruption. Strengthening local government and participation of civil society are essential to stabilize democracy. Political participation of minorities and structurally marginalized or vulnerable groups has to be enhanced and sensitization for integrating and mainstreaming human rights into the implementation of public policies needs to be done.
The CAPAZ will consider the devastating impact that the conflict had on ethnic groups and the related violations of their (collective) rights. It will apply a differentiating approach with a gender focus including aspects like SGBV in conflict and related TJ measures. The continuous vulnerability and even threats and killing of human rights activists will be taken into account and supported by research, training and consultancy.
The PRIF has conducted research on the design of democratic post-conflict orders, the sustainability of peace in the aftermath of civil wars as well as prevention of crime and relapse into violence. It also has expertise in respect of external actors within peace processes.
Professor Ibáñez (CRC-PEG/UGOE) contributes expertise on the economic and social consequences of conflict on local communities and displaced persons.
The consortium has extensive expertise in the field of rule of law and democracy. Professors Kreide (JLU) and Braig (LAI) are experts in the field of democracy and political participation in Europe and Latin America, with a focus on challenges at the local, regional and national level.
The LAI has expertise on political transformation processes, the role of external support and specific guarantees for the protection of ethnic minorities in decision-making procedures.
The pressing need for a just and efficient land and agricultural reform does not only emerge from forced displacements, inequality and severe poverty in the country; it has been a pending issue since 1934 when the first attempt for a land reform law was made. Yet, land redistribution is prone to obstacles. An agreement regarding rural agrarian development has been reached in the peace negotiations.
The consortium can support the process by research and training, and incentives for a fruitful debate, based on its experience in the field of land reforms.
The LAI and JLU have conducted profound research on land reforms in different countries with parallel circumstances.
Further knowledge can be provided by the PRIF, having conducted research on the causes of conflicts, on resource conflicts and the role of companies in conflict zones.
Professor Martinez (UGOE) has expertise on the legal framework for land reform based on the Colombian Constitution.
In order to achieve the overall objectives of the peace process, the existence of an effective and efficient, rule of law-based security sector is necessary in order to guarantee public security. This is a major challenge, especially considering the rise of organized crime in the country. It will be a significant challenge to prevent these groups from spreading in areas formerly controlled by the FARC.
In the course of the conflict, the absence of public security forces as well as cases of corruption within these forces enabled illegal groups to gain control of many areas of Colombia. As a consequence, serious crimes against the population were committed. This led to a loss of confidence and trust by the population in the military and the police. Thus, measures in improving the relationship with the population are being carried out and additional efforts need to be undertaken.
In Latin America, the military has often been involved in ensuring public order in general and the delimitation of the different functions of the military and the police has often remained unclear. Further research can contribute to developing more refined legal perspectives. Research and training must address the delimitation of competence, remits and functions.
The consortium accounts for great expertise in the field of Security Sector Reforms (SSR): Professor Marauhn has been conducting security-sector related research for many years, also in cooperation with the PRIF which has conducted further research on SSR. The LAI has carried out investigations on police reforms. CEDPAL has worked on police reform in various Latin American countries.
Reestablishing the social tissue of Colombia requires intense involvement of society in the process of building historical memory, and visualizing the circumstances and root causes of the conflict in a constructive manner, not least with a focus on non-repetition and on enhancing reconciliation among all parts of the society. Integrating ‘peace pedagogics’ into the public curricula is indispensable for peacebuilding. Efforts to promote education on memorization and peace in all parts of the Colombian society need to be enhanced.
The CAPAZ will include training of stakeholders in affected areas, who can serve as multipliers in order to distribute information, knowhow and values into society. The Institute will contribute to the multiplication and exchange of knowledge and consider a context-specific approach, integrating topics with respect to the indigenous, Afro-Colombians and the rural population.
Training of teachers and lawyers will be a crucial element of this process; capacity-building workshops will be implemented.