EL ESPECTADOR, November 25, 2022
(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)
The Ideas for Peace Foundation (FIP in Spanish) made a comparison of what was agreed in Havana six years ago when the Peace Agreement was signed, with the 100 days that the Chief Executive has been in power. Here are their urgent recommendations, point by point.
The six years that have passed since November 24, 2016, when the Colombian government and the now-defunct FARC guerrillas signed the Peace Agreement, have crossed through the administrations of three different Presidents, and they leave a balance of lights and shadows.
The panorama of the implementation of what had been negotiated in Havana moves from the pacification of some regions and the progress in the investigation to find the truth and the reconciliation between victims and those responsible, to the resurgence of the conflict in several areas of the country, the murder of more than 340 former FARC combatants, and the corruption by the management of funds intended for the peace.
After the four years of the Iván Duque administration, in which several points of the Agreement were left pretty far behind, it’s expected that the Gustavo Petro administration will speed things up in the implementation.
“We identified three cautions that touch the areas of greatest concern for the communities. In the first place is the necessity for the prompt restructuring of the Integrated National Program for the Substitution of Illegal Crops (PNIS in Spanish), or the appropriate decisions on alternatives to substitution of the plantings.
“In the second place, we think it’s central to investigate the situations of corruption in OCAD Paz that have been disclosed; they have to make headway in the respective investigations, and above all speed up activities of transparency in the management of funds for implementation of the Agreement. Social leaders and authorities have been complaining about irregularities in the processes of this system for years, and as we find out more about the poor management, there has been an impression that the PDET (Development Program With Territorial Focus) projects, especially the infrastructure projects, are no longer seen as possible,” says Irina Cuesta, a researcher on conflict and violence. Her work is organized by the Ideas for Peace Foundation (FIP).
As the third element, Cuesta refers to Point 5 of the Agreement: “While there indeed are very significant advances through the Truth Commission, the Unit for the Search for Disappeared Persons, and the JEP, there is a grave deficiency in the necessary reform of Statute 1448 for speeding up reparations for the victims.”
In regard to the six years of implementation of the Agreement, and the llttle more than 100 days that Petro has had to adjust to the Presidency, the FIP published an assessment that takes the pulse of the advances, announcements, and priorities for making progress on the path to peace. Colombia+20 collected the cautions identified by the Foundation, point by point in the Agreement.
Point 1: Integrated Rural Reform
Establish a regional strategy to make progress in the updating of the Plans of Action for the Transformation of Regions (PATR in Spanish), considering the delays in implementation of the PDET initiatives and the scandals that we now know about in the management of public funds in the OCAD Paz system.
Implementation of tools like the Participatory Environmental Zoning that are part of Point 1. That’s fundamental to take care of conflicts with communities that live in or border on protected areas and that are at risk because of the expansion of the agricultural boundary.
For some experts, the purchase of land from large landholders is a marginal agrarian reform; according to them, that ought to be broadened and we should consider a land policy that contemplates other properties, beyond those for sale by cattle ranchers.
There are 21 necessary regulations pending for the implementation of the Integrated Rural Reform. Among them, reform of Statute 160 of 1994 should be highlighted, as well as an adjustment of public services available for the adaptation of properties, and the agrarian jurisdiction.
Consolidation of the multipurpose land registry must be speeded up. The information is fundamental for understanding the condition of the properties that the government owns, and undertaking the procedures for clean-up, restitution, and redistribution, as is contemplated in the Agreement.
Point 2: Political Participation
The most serious changes—like the recommendations by the Special Electoral Mission (MEE in Spanish) to reform the election system, political financing, creating a special Raizal seat and adjusting the indigenous and Afro-Colombian special seats—have not been approved.
Neither has the creation of the Electoral Jurisdiction and the Colombian Electoral Council (CEC in Spanish) been approved. Also, the Statutory Law was struck down by the Constitutional Court in 2022 for procedural defects.
The creation of a special system for attention, procedures, and follow-up on complaints and warnings of corruption has been delayed.
The advances in the arrangements for peace, coexistence, and reconciliation—like the creation of the CNPRC (Colombian National Council for Peace, Reconciliation, and Coexistence) and the CTPRC (Colombian Territorial Council for Peace, Reconciliation, and Coexistence)—are incomplete because of the tardiness in building a public policy of coexistence, reconciliation, tolerance, and never
Point 3: Ending the conflict
On this point, the FIP report emphasizes that the Petro administration, keeping in mind the crisis in the guarantees for the security of social and community leaders and re-incorporated persons, has established the conditions for moving forward agreements with the armed groups responsible for the humanitarian damage. Considering that situation, these are the cautions:
The necessity of detailed perusal and updating on the activities of the armed groups, not just considering variables in the lethal violence that they can carry out, but also their territorial control dynamics and governance.
Not losing sight of any regulations from prior administrations that might still be useful, like Decree 660 in 2018 regarding collective protection, the Integrated Program of Guarantees for women that are leaders and human rights defenders or, even the CONPES 4063 from 2021.
Strengthening and re-evaluating the systems for the functioning of the Intersectoral Commission for Rapid Response to Early Warnings.
And, particularly regarding the process of the re-incorporation of the ex-FARC, these are the priorities:
Improve the institutional proposal for the new geography of re-incorporation, because 70% of the ex-guerrillas signing the Peace Agreement are living outside of the prior ETCR (Territorial Spaces for Training and Re-Incorporation).
Emphasize the National Re-Incorporation System to strengthen its connection with agency offerings for the signers and their milieu.
Strengthen the territorial authorities that govern the process and their connection with national agencies, such as the procedures for accompaniment of productive projects that are already funded.
Promote procedures for workplace and financial inclusion.
Articulate the path for re-incorporation with the System of Truth, Justice, Reparation,, and Guarantees of No Repetition.
Point 4: The problem of drugs
The Petro administration has not yet appointed a Director of the Management of Substitution of Plants Used Illegally (DSCI in Spanish), the agency in charge of the implementation of the PNIS.
Since 2017, 88,939 families that signed collective agreements with PNIS were left out of the Program in spite of the fact that they had told the government that they were willing to employ a substitute for their illegal plantings. If the administration decides to broaden the PNIS, it must start with those families (as long as they still want to do it).
If the PNIS continues with its individual focus, unconnected to the territorial transformation, it’s not very likely that it can generate economically viable legal alternatives that could have an impact on the reduction of poverty and marginalization in the areas that are growing coca.
The change of operators and the mistrust of them in the countryside has been an obstacle to the prompt implementation of several components of the Program.
The collectors are one of the populations that are lagging the most in offerings from institutions. They must be integrated into the design and development phase of the initiatives for transformation into the legal economy.
The program “Making Substitution Official” has a high potential to achieve lasting change through formalization and titling of land, but it’s necessary to carry out a rigorous assessment to identify lessons learned and opportunities for improvement in the medium range.
Point 5. The victims of the conflict
Establish the entities that will take on the responsibility for sharing and teaching about the Truth Commission Report and accompany the procedures for coexistence that the Truth Commission strengthened during its term.
Coordinate with the Special Jurisdiction for Peace to take measures that guarantee the effective execution of its own sanctions, not just for its restorative components, but also for effective restrictions on liberty.
Push forward the spaces for widened participation by the victims and their organizations, permitting them to prepare proposals for significant changes in the Victims’ Law. “Even though the extension of this law was approved, the pacing of reparations up to now has been frustrating for the victims. This is a key area for this administration, as the new peace negotiations or conversations with armed groups also have to consider systems for truth, justice, reparation and no repetition,” explains researcher Irina Cuesta of FIP.
Delays in appointments of officials, another hindrance
The Management of Substitution of Crops for Illegal Uses (DSCI) is not the only entity that continues leaderless for more than three months from the inauguration of the new administration. The Agency for Re-Incorporation and Normalization (CARN) also continues to wait for the appointment of a director, and key entities like the Territory Renewal Agency (ART in Spanish) were in the same situation until a few days ago.
For Cuesta, the current state of implementation of the Agreement requires the entities to speed up some procedures and the pace of their work. “To do this, it’s indispensable that the composition and management be clear, especially considering that in some cases there was an increase in budgeted funds that has to be organized,” states the researcher.
And she adds that “beyond the appointment of the directors, the challenge is that the recently created Unit for the Implementation of the Agreement, led by Gloria Cuartas, be able to put together the programs effectively, and that the communities start to perceive progress and responses.”
 OCAD Paz is a tripartite body assigned to redistribute the royalties generated by the exploitation of hydrocarbons.
 An Afro-Caribbean ethnic group from the Archipelago of San Andrés.
 A planning instrument for the guarantee of respect for human rights defenders, approved by the National Council for Social and Economic Policy (CONPES)