Shaping the future through dialogue in Colombia
Since the mid-1980s, an estimated eight million Colombians have become the victims of internal displacement on account of the conflict between state power and various armed groups. Forced to leave their rural homelands, these internally displaced persons (IDPs) settled predominantly on the outskirts of major cities. Here, they came face to face with local residents, many of whom also lived in extreme poverty. Competition for jobs, for example, often led to violence and mutual discrimination. Colombia’s current government has been striving since 2010 to eliminate the causes and consequences of the conflict. The most recent success is a peace agreement with the largest guerrilla movement FARC.
Support for IDPs and host communities in Colombia
On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), GIZ has recently been supporting Colombia with several programmes dealing with displacement and migration issues. The objective is to improve the lives of both internally displaced persons and residents of the host communities in equal measure. One programme, the ProPaz peace programme, also receives funding of EUR 11 million from the European Union. The first signs of success can already be seen. By talking with indigenous village communities, land has been set aside to enable them to once again begin practising their cultural and economic traditions. Forty small businesses have also already been set up, and over 100 local Colombians and IDPs have taken part in training courses. In total, the measures to date have improved the incomes of nearly 4,000 victims of the conflict. In addition, many public authority employees have been trained in the rules on victim compensation. This means that applications can be processed quickly and in accordance with the law and regulations.