Colombia

The SDC primarily focuses its efforts in Colombia on delivering basic services and strengthening protection for victims of conflicts. However, these efforts also extend to other areas, including water access, water management and sanitation projects.

Map of Colombia

In 2012, the Colombian government announced that it would start formal peace talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). This process led to the adoption of several pieces of legislation, including the Victims and Land Restitution Act. Although roundly applauded nationally and internationally, certain factions continue to oppose these negotiations, and organised violence remains an intractable problem. The SDC concentrates its efforts in Colombia on alleviating the worrying humanitarian situation faced by the victims of conflict. Its general strategy is designed to advance the processes towards conflict resolution and reconciliation. SDC cooperation in Colombia comes in a range of forms, including bilateral and multilateral partnerships, as well as direct action.

Humanitarian Aid

Delivery of basic services to victims of conflict

Emergency humanitarian aid covers the basic needs of conflict-affected communities by giving them access to drinking water, and providing them with food and primary health care. This action not only secures the livelihoods of vulnerable populations, but also builds their institutional and organisational capacities, thereby equipping them to participate in the reconciliation process. The SDC is particularly active in rural areas.

Humanitarian Aid

Land governance

Protectionfor victims of conflict: land restitution

The Victims and Land Restitution Act, which was adopted in 2011, includes a number of mechanisms to protect the civilian population. They draw on the «Do-No-Harm» approach, which seeks to ensure that aid does not become a new source of conflict. This approach comprises three main strands:

  • strengthening institutions
  • capacity building (individual level)
  • knowledge management

The Minister of Agriculture is responsible for administering the Act according to this approach, and is assisted in this process by experts from the National University of Colombia together with CDA-Collaborative Learning Projects, an American organisation.

Engagement in fragile contexts and prevention of violent conflicts

Water

Guaranteeing vulnerable communities access to water; improving sanitation and water management

Everyone, especially those living in rural communities, is entitled to a sustainable supply of water, as well as adequate sanitation. As part of a public-private partnership, Swiss and Colombian firms studied household water consumption. Their findings paved the way for a pilot project designed to improve water management in Colombia. In turn, the knowledge and experience acquired during the project led to the launch of a second phase, this time involving seven major Colombian firms. The National Cleaner Production Centre (NCPC) coordinates the project.

Water

History of cooperation

From humanitarian aid to transition support

In 2001, the SDC opened an office in Bogota to oversee its humanitarian programme designed to improve the living conditions of victims of armed conflict. Colombia has also been an SDC priority country since 2009.

Current projects

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SuizAgua Colombia: Water footprint put into practice

Four children posing with their diploma of "guardian of water"

01.01.2016 - 31.03.2019

The project applies the water footprint (WFP) indicator to monitor and improve water use and to reduce the impacts of the business sector. Companies in Colombia have endorsed a corporate social and environmental responsibility plan that includes steps to improve their water management. Additionally, a multi-sector approach is used for the application of the WFP in Porce river watershed.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Colombia
Global
Latin America
Water
Integrated water resource management (watershed)
Water economics (governance, finance, private sector)
Integrated water resource management (watershed)
Water economics (governance, finance, private sector)
Water for agriculture and food
Water resources policy and advocacy

01.01.2016 - 31.03.2019


CHF 1'395'750



Strengthening the Colombian Mine Action Authority

01.07.2016 - 30.06.2017

According to DAICMA, Colombia registered 11,390 landmine victims from 1990 to December 2015 - of which approximately 61 percent are members of the Colombian Public Forces and 39 percent are civilians. Moreover and the country is the 2nd country with greatest production of new victims. There is an urgent need to organize and increase capacity for demining, improve national coordination and deployment of expert civilian organizations capable of designing responses for populations at risk while supporting key government objectives. Colombia acceded to the Ottawa Treaty in 2000, committing to the clearance of all mines by 2021 - after an extension was granted in 2010.


UNV for Arauca Field Office

15.06.2016 - 14.07.2017

Over the past five years OCHA improved humanitarian coordination in Colombia through robust information management, coordination mechanism and sound assessments. Regular monitoring enabled OCHA to provide existing coordination mechanisms at both national and local levels with timely and accurate information and analyses, therefore increasing the quality of decision making processes directed towards humanitarian action and humanitarian response. It is noteworthy that the role of international humanitarian actors in Colombia is to complement and enhance state and governmental response efforts. However, there are constraints to be surpassed aimed at complementing institutions through better coordination.


Colombia Information Management and Analysis Unit (CIMAU)

18.05.2016 - 31.05.2018

Colombia has been suffering from a protracted armed conflict, which affected the living conditions of over 7.5 million people. Colombia has a historic opportunity to achieve a peace agreement with the FARC-EP guerrilla in 2016, entering into a transition period out of conflict into local peace and statebuilding. In this post-conflict context, a data management system, taking into account not only humanitarian, but also peacebuilding and development needs is crucial to contribute to a more strategic decision making and better alignment and harmonization.


WFP Secondment –Cash and Voucher Programme Officer

01.04.2016 - 30.11.2017

The Government of Colombia is making advances on a number of issues that are central to resolving the civil conflict. In 2014, it was estimated that 5.9 million internally displaced people and 262,000 confined people still needed humanitarian assistance. 

WFP’s role in Colombia is two-folded: 1.  as a provider of humanitarian assistance to the populations affected by the civil conflict and 2. as a facilitator of development. The Government has requested WFP’s continued support to address the food and nutrition security issues resulting from instability associated with the civil conflict and gaps in coverage of the Government’s assistance programmes through programmes that would contribute to the peace process.

 

WFP aims to complement Government programmes, and support the development of efficient, sustainable and scalable food-assistance models.


Oxfam GB: Improvement of the living conditions through WATSAN solutions, of indigenous and afro communities in Bajo Atrato, Choco, with a focus on the promotion of women’s empowerment.

18.08.2015 - 31.07.2017

The five decades running armed conflict in Colombia continues to cause humanitarian needs with consequences in terms of access to basic rights in the remote geographic zones where SDC is present, namely access to safe water and sanitation, need of protection of the communities related to threats linked to natural calamities and/or to the conflict (i.e. internal displacements, recruitments of minors, etc). Rural communities in Choco, particularly indigenous and afros, are among the most affected, whose condition is made worse because of a general absence of state authorities (poor capacity and will), which result in a general poor access to basic services such water, sanitation and health. This situation led the Constitutional court to call Colombian institutions to take urgent action to address the persistence (since 2008) of an unconstitutional state of affairs in the department of Choco.


Handicap International: Comprehensive action against Antipersonnel Mines (APM) and Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) in three departments of Colombia.

01.08.2015 - 31.03.2017

The five decades running armed conflict in Colombia continues to cause humanitarian needs such as internal displacement, landmine contamination and the recruitment of minors by armed groups. Departments of Nariño, Cauca and Cordoba, by geography serve as strategic corridor to the Pacific and Caribe for the cultivation, production and trafficking of drugs, weapons and illegal mining among others, becoming scenario of social conflicts and armed confrontation. Rural communities in those departments are among the most affected by antipersonnel mines (APM) and Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) which generate victims with poor access to physical and psychosocial services, as well as option for social, economic and educational inclusion.


The SABA Water and Sanitation Experience: Boosting Impact at Global Scale (SABA+)

01.12.2014 - 31.12.2017

Many countries transitioning to a higher economic status still struggle on the water and sanitation component. In countries where water supply or sanitation have been installed, aggregate outcomes tend to mask that the quality of services is poor, that inequalities are increasing and improvements in access do often not reach those groups who suffer most. Thus, new models of intervention and financing strategies are required for such countries.. Through this new initiative, and by finalizing a unique scaling-up process in Peru and replicating it in post-conflict areas of Colombia, SDC will also enrich the global debate on the fulfillment of the SDGs and the gradual exercise of the human right to water with a new model of intervention and a new financing strategy.


Corporate Sustainability and Reporting for Competitive Business - CSRCB Phase II

01.09.2016 - 31.08.2020

Phase II of the 'Corporate Sustainability and Reporting for Competitive Business' Programme (CSRCB) aims at promoting the integration of SMEs into global value chains by improving their sustainability reporting and performance. The programme is implemented by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and targets six developing countries.


Secompetitivo and IDB Colombia Sostenible Facility

01.04.2016 - 31.12.2020

SECO aims at supporting the Colombian government in its agenda to a) strengthen the competitiveness of its economy, which is crucial for the OECD accession and b) create economic perspectives and support sustainable agricultural practices, which contribute to lasting peace.


IFC Green Building EDGE Program

01.01.2016 - 31.12.2019

Buildings consume a large share of energy and water resources and are responsible for up to 20% of global CO2 emissions. This program, implemented by the IFC, aims at supporting the construction sector in several SECO priority countries to design greener buildings. By reducing energy and water use of buildings, operational costs for house owners will decrease.


Global Financial Infrastructure Programme

09.10.2015 - 31.12.2020

The Global Financial Infrastructure Programme (hereafter, the programme) will support the development and creation of well-functioning financial markets in SECO’s priority countries. With a specific focus on credit reporting and secured transaction, the programme will facilitate financial inclusion and foster responsible access to finance. It will be implemented by the the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

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