Land and the Peace Agenda in Colombia

Five months ago, formal peace talks were launched between the government of Colombia and the FARC-EP guerrillas. The early rounds of talks have focused on the issue of agrarian development—the first of six agreed agenda items. Highly skewed land tenure patterns, a root cause of Colombia’s longstanding internal armed conflict, have worsened over time as guerrilla insurgents, paramilitary groups, drug traffickers, agro-industrialists and the State battle for control of land, resources, and geo-strategic corridors. This violence has displaced five million Colombians, forced the evacuation of an estimated 20 million hectares of land, and produced a “reverse agrarian reform” that consolidates one of the most inequitable land tenure systems in the world. What proposals are being developed to address these land inequities, to restitute the victims of Colombia’s internal armed conflict, and to build sustainable peace?

On April 3, 2013 the U.S. Institute of Peace and the U.S. Office on Colombia have convened a conference at USIP’s offices in Washington, D.C. (2301 Constitution Avenue NW) to discuss the relationship of land and the peace agenda. The event will provide a platform for discussion among a variety of stakeholders from the U.S. and Colombian governments, victims and affected parties, academics, international organizations, and NGOs. This event is co-sponsored by the United States Institute of Peace and the U.S. Office on Colombia, with the support of U.S. Agency for International Development, U.N. Development Program, Latin America Working Group Education Fund, Mercy Corps, Inter-American Foundation, and Lutheran World Relief.  If you happen to be in D.C., please join us.  (RSVP here).

Otherwise, the event will be webcast live (and then archived) at the USIP website here.

Hope you can join us.  Speakers will include:

  • Absalón Machado
    Rural Development Consultant, United Nations Development Program (PNUD), Colombia Academic coordinator,
    Informe Nacional de Desarrollo Humano 2011 para Colombia (Rural Colombia: Reasons for Hope)
  • Carlos Salgado
    Director, Planeta Paz
  • Ricardo Sabogal
    Director, Unit for the Restitution of Lands/Unidad de Restitución de Tierras
  • Ángela Suárez Álvarez
    Program Manager, Victims Institutional Strengthening Program (VISP),
  • Zoraida Castillo
    Director, Lutheran World Relief,
  • Yamile Salinas
    Independent researcher and specialist in land rights
  • Donny Meertens
    Professor, National University and Javeriana University
  • Jaime Enrique Arias
    Representative, National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC)
  • Everyldis Córdoba Borja 
    Coordinator, COCOMASUR (Community Council of Afro-Colombian Communities of the River Tolo)
  • Luis Ernesto Vargas Silva
    Magistrate, Constitutional Court of Colombia

About Ginny Bouvier

Love reading, writing, thinking, and working with people to make the world a better place. Family and friends, yoga, travel, photography, perusing dessert menus keep me sane. Latin American enthusiast. Peace practitioner yearning for justice. Heading up the Colombia program at the U.S. Institute of Peace, but tweets and posts are my own.
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