Colombia is the only country in the western hemisphere suffering a major internal armed conflict. In September 2012, the Colombian government announced a new effort to negotiate with left-wing insurgencies. This is the fourth attempt in 45 years to reach a negotiated settlement of the war.
While the announcement has spurred new hope, it can also lead to further frustration if people’s expectations are not met. Learning from failures in the past, the process needs new and creative thinking.
Peace processes are fragile, in Colombia and elsewhere. Conciliation Resources suggests re-assessing some of the main concepts and approaches, in order to increase the quality and sustainability of a peace process. This entails demystifying the negotiating table as the core process for change and instead acknowledging the importance of parallel, more constructive, inclusive, democratic and sustainable processes for deliberation and decisionmaking. In this frame, women’s agency needs to be acknowledged and enhanced.
Our comparative perspective on peace processes, combined with a deep knowledge of the Colombian context, enables us to look objectively at why past solutions have failed and propose viable alternatives.
Conciliation Resources works to influence public debate and promote a new solution to the conflict that offers a more constructive, inclusive, democratic and sustainable alternative to peace.
Articles published by Conciliation Resources in the Colombian and international media have successfully highlighted in the public domain the need for peaceful settlement of the armed conflict and an approach of ‘multiple paths to peace’. .
Through fresh thinking and taking a different approach to the conflict, peace is possible.
Presenting alternative approaches to achieving peace in Colombia
Drawing on lessons from past experiences in Colombia, as well as international developments and trends, we develop suggestions to aid the transition to a peaceful society. We seek to provide answers to questions such as:
- Who would negotiate a peace deal?
- What would be negotiated?
- And, what else beyond peace negotiations is needed to bring peace to this rich and diverse country?
We produce publications and opinion articles, and share innovative reflections to propose new ways of dealing with the conflict. We also facilitate dialogue and exchange and engage with a wide spectrum of people affected by the conflict, including civil society, security and private sectors, media and the Government.
The difference we make
Our comparative perspective on peace processes, combined with a deep knowledge of the Colombian context enables Conciliation Resources to look objectively at why past solutions have failed and propose viable alternatives. We are also able to reach and connect different members of Colombian society, enabling the voices of ordinary people to be heard.
La vIa ciudadana para construir la paz/Citizen’s Path to Peace (2010), a book published in Spanish by Conciliation Resources and our partner Indepaz has, for example, had a significant impact by re-framing people’s thinking on possible ways forward.
I had never met an Army General before. He has opened his eyes to our struggles at the community level, while I have reduced my prejudices against the Armed Forces.
María Gines Quiñones, Afro-Colombian community leader from Nariño, south-western Colombia