More than 713,000 Colombians, more than half of them women, in 286 municipalities have benefited from joint UN and civil society programs supported by the UN Multipartner Trust Fund for the Post-Conflict, hand in hand with the government at national and local levels. Among them, 20 groups of victims have begun their reparations process and 57,000 people benefited from small infrastructure projects, according to the first-year results report of the UN Fund, which has mobilized more than 50 million dollars for stabilization and the consolidation of trust, especially in the areas most affected by the conflict.
Colombian, UN officials and representatives of countries supporting the process gathered at the United Nations headquarters in New York to reiterate their support to a post-conflict Colombia on a historic day in which the country celebrated the total laying down of individual arms from FARC-EP women and men, after more than half a century of armed conflict in the South American country.
“Colombia sets an example to the entire world because it shows that peace is possible,” said UN Assistant Secretary General and United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Regional Bureau Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Jessica Faieta . “_T_he UN Multidonor Fund is fundamental as Colombia prepares for the post-conflict stage,” she added, thanking countries like Canada, Great Britain, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Switzerland and Ireland, as well as other contributors such as the UN Peacebuilding Fund and the Global Acceleration Instrument.
Colombian Postconflict Minister Rafael Pardo reiterated the historic importance of the weapons laydown and stressed that there is still a long way to go. The Minister underlined, among some challenges, pending laws to stream post-conflict actions and the need to improve the lives of people in rural areas, particularly with access to social protection.
Among the Fund’s main objectives are the contribution to breaking the linkages between politics and violence, enhancing citizen access to formal and alternative justice mechanisms, managing the transformation of conflicts and accelerating and concretizing the process of reparation to victims.
The Fund mobilizes and channels the financial support of the international community towards the governmental stabilization efforts and the enlistment process for the early implementation of the Peace Agreement. With its support to these initiatives, the Fund hopes to reduce the risk of new cycles of conflict and violence, and build confidence in affected communities.
All initiatives supported by the UN Multipartner Trust Fund are closely coordinated with relevant ministries and state entities, thus ensuring alignment and complementarity with the priorities of the government’s peace strategy in the short and medium terms.
Projects financed with Fund resources include a differential approach and a crosscutting vision of reconciliation and strengthening of human rights. They also have mechanisms for participation and consultation with communities in the territories, in addition to ensuring environmental “no harm” in all of their interventions, which also have an important gender focus.
Other key results of the UN Multiparter Trust Fund for the Post-Conflict are:
• By the end of 2016, the programme Manos a la Obra para la Paz (Hands at work for peace) had initiated community infrastructure projects (schools, bridges, roads) that provided local employment and benefited 57,000 people.
• Another initiative, Manos a la Paz, (Hands for peace), has sent more than 250 university students from various cities in Colombia to support local development projects. For the first time, a generation of new professionals have had the opportunity to connect with the distant regions most affected by the conflict.
• Also, during 2016, the first children and teenagers who were separated from the FARC-EP ranks were able to reincorporate into society, claiming their fundamental rights to education and health. In the same period, civil organizations developed educational initiatives on the Peace Agreements with more than 50,000 direct beneficiaries in various communities.
• In 2016, the Fund also approved the first grant for the Colombian Anti-Mine Campaign to clear rural areas of anti-personal mines, encouraging the strengthening of local and national capacities in the process.