Colombia could soon be approaching the end of the protracted armed conflict with the FARC, but more involvement of civil society in the peace process is needed and lessons from other negotiation processes should be considered. Our Colombia Programme Director, Kristian Herbolzheimer, joins the conversation in London this March.
Inclusive public participation led by Colombian society is vital in the implementation of any peace deals resulting from the current Colombian peace talks, peacebuilding NGO Conciliation Resources says. Social, political and economic actors must seize this window of opportunity and empower themselves to lead on a National Dialogue to assess the multiple challenges in moving from confrontation to collaboration, and draft a road map to stronger democratic institutions.
Conciliation Resources has launched professionally translated websites in French, Russian and Spanish, in an effort to inform more people about conflicts affecting hundreds of thousands of individuals.
Recent developments in Colombia suggest that the government and FARC each now recognise that violence is not solved by more violence. In a Spanish article for Razón Pública, Kristian Herbolzheimer, Director of our Colombia and Philippines programmes, suggests that Colombia can learn lessons from its own past – both its successes and mistakes – to identify a new approach that is far more inclusive than peace negotiations. Both sides have taken important steps but the challenge remains to define the roadmap to peace.
In early November the Colombian army killed Alfonso Cano, the head of Farc (the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia). Responding to recent developments, Kristian Herbolzheimer of Conciliation Resources makes the case in the Guardian that Colombia needs to fundamentally rethink its approach and design a participatory peace process.
Conciliation Resources – together with the School of Peace and Cooperacció – is convening a Public Forum in Barcelona on Friday 28 October on the issue of "Women in peace processes". The forum’s goal is to discuss achievements and challenges for women peacebuilders and to share innovative practice from Colombia, the Philippines and elsewhere.
Ten Filipinas visited Colombia in August, facilitated by Conciliation Resources and local partners. The women exchanged ideas with their peers, as well as meeting local government representatives and working with a range of interest groups. Both parties benefitted in what was, as Rina Jimenez-David puts it, "our own little attempt [at understanding] the roots of armed conflict and seeking a way to bring the voices of non-combatants, especially women, to the table.”