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
© FDFA

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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Better Gold Initiative, Phase II

01.11.2016 - 30.06.2021

During the second phase of the Better Gold Initiative for artisanal and small-scale mining (BGI for ASM), a scaling-up of responsibly sourced ASM gold shall take place. Value chains for sustainably produced gold from ASM operations in Peru, Colombia and Bolivia to the Swiss market are established. The project follows 3 components: 1) Production and certification: Support to ASM operations in their formalization and certification- 2) Policy Dialogue: Simplification of formalization framework- 3) Demand: Establishment of value chains through collaboration with private sector.


Employability Social Impact Bond Program

01.10.2016 - 30.09.2021

SECO aims to provide better access to jobs for disadvantaged people in Colombia. It does so through setting up Social Impact Bonds in the area of employability. The program will also contribute to build the necessary data and market environment for Social Impact Bonds. The learnings will be shared in and beyond Colombia.


Colombia + Competitiva

01.07.2016 - 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.


Local Energy Strategies in Colombian Cities

30.06.2016 - 31.12.2020

Colombia is facing several challenges in terms of energy efficiency and renewable energy. The SECO program will support selected Colombian cities in achieving a more sustainable management and use of energy by introducing an adapted "Energy City/European Energy Award" approach to the country.


Natural Capital Finance Alliance

01.04.2015 - 31.12.2020

The Natural Capital Finance Alliance (NCFA) is a financial industry-led initiative aiming to quantify the risks of Natural Capital (e.g. water, soil, rainforest) in financial institutions investment and lending decisions. A methodology will be elaborated and tested at the global level and in some of Switzerland's priority countries.


World Bank Capital Markets Strenghtening Facility

01.01.2015 - 30.06.2021

The Capital Markets Strengthening Facility is an innovative cross-cutting initiative with the overall objective to develop stable and resilient capital markets and to facilitate long-term local currency financing for sectors critical for economic growth and poverty reduction. SECO?s funds are earmarked to its priority countries in the "South".


Global Financial Infrastructure Programme

01.01.2015 - 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).


Sustainable Cities in Colombia and Peru

01.11.2012 - 31.12.2020

The private sector can be a source of urban infrastructure financing to close the growing infrastructure gap in Latin America. The IFC LAC Sustainable Cities Program will provide advisory services to support selected cities in attracting the private sector to develop a pool of implementable and bankable high impact infrastructure projects.


The Sustainable Trade Initiative IDH

01.07.2012 - 31.12.2021

IDH is a neutral convener that brings together companies in a safe pre-competitive arena, acts as facilitator to organize cooperation between companies, NGOs, governments, knowledge institutes, banks and trade unions. IDH kick-starts sustainability programs by co-funding and de-risking private investments, and helps exploring new concepts that will help create scalable, self-sustaining solutions that deliver impact at scale on Sustainable Development Goals, with a focus on: improved livelihoods of smallholder farmers and increased, decent incomes for workers to help end poverty (SDG1), promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth (SDG 8), improve gender equality (SDG 5), nutrition (SDG 2) and help to halt deforestation (SDG 15) and reduce toxic loading.

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