Peace-Building by Promoting Cooperation between Government and Civil Society - CERCAPAZ

IP Wave

Country: Colombia

Client: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation through GTZ

Counterpart Organization: National Planning Department/Ministry of the Environment/Ministry of Agriculture

Project Duration: 10/2009 - 03/2012

Colombia’s government has initiated reforms introduced together with the constitution in 1991 in order to fight against violence, corruption and patronage. Although numerous social and governmental initiatives work together to prevent violence from becoming a daily commonplace, they are hardly integrated into broader national structures at all. For peace-building to be sus-tainable, a common language of trust between State and civil society must be attained and more intense use must be made of the possibilities for cooperation between governmental and societal actors.

With its programme component Constructive Management of the Environment and of Natural Resources as a means for Peace Building, the German technical cooperation aims at increasing the performance capacity of the Colombian government and civil society by greater citizen participation and effective accountability. Local, regional and national actors jointly develop peace-building strategies.

The consultant’s basic services are the process-oriented and organisational consulting of governmental, commercial and non-governmental organisations. They are to be supported in the joint creation of public forums for discussions on conflictive environmental issues, primarily concerning water and forests. In this context, gender aspects as well as the specific rights of traditionally excluded population groups (women, IDPs and Afro-Colombians) are to be taken into consideration. These activities are complemented by the training in conflict management methods and instruments concerning the environmental sector. The Ministry of the Environment is to get technical advice on the conflict-sensitive design of national planning instruments for the water and forest sectors. Private-sector companies are supported in the introduction and application of the concept of “Corporate Social Responsibility” (CSR) as a means to foster a culture of peacefulness. The companies use these services for the implementation of local programmes regarding the equal rights of all social strata of the population (social inclusion), peace-building and the sustainable management of natural resources. In watershed management areas, public forums allow an approximation of state and civil society and a discussion of their problems and the various actors involved agree on a conflict sensitive medium-term plan for the control and management of these areas. The direct effect of this is the enabling of the various actors to jointly apply mechanisms for a peaceful and constructive solution of environmental conflicts and to jointly achieve results.

Main Services Provided:

  • Accompaniment of planning and policy formulation processes on national and regional level
  • Capacity Development in methods of peaceful conflict resolution
  • Studies on Watershed Characteristics
  • Studies on forest sector characteristics regarding its peace-potential
  • Peace and Conflict Analysis
  • Round Tables between civil society groups and state actors
  • Manuals and guidance for the private sector regarding the implementation of CSR Activities

An Environment for Peace: Lessons learnt from the transformation of socio-environment conflicts in Colombia

Systematisation and dissemination of experiences and knowledge generated by its projects is a central concern for IP CONSULT. For three years the consortium IP CONSULT / Ambero was commissioned by the German Government via the GIZ to develop “Capacities for the constructive and sustainable management of natural resources and the environment” in the framework of the CERCAPAZ Programme in Colombia. During our involvement we have developed expertise which we wish to share with those working in the area of natural resource management or in the development of peace in Colombia and in other parts of the world. In the attached paper we highlight the lessons learned and propose recommendations for the continuity of the processes which are already underway, as well as for other similar processes which are to begin in the future. The interests around the use and benefits of natural resources and/or the environment as a whole can cause conflicts. This is why it has been a gratifying and enriching experience to work those conflicts in the framework of a peace building programme. We were able to ascertain that this topic is essential and can help to bring about more and better cohabitation and thus contribute to a culture of peace. We trust this publication is a contribution to the on-going development of more and better answers to complex issues surrounding the construction of peace.

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