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Implementing the final agreement leaves a bittersweet balance

Implementing the final peace agreement could be translated as placing the agreed pact in constitutional, legal and regulations as well as in actual facts and enforcement of the political accords both parties settled; and take the necessary actions for the members of the former insurgence to effectively take on political, economic and social citizenship.

The agreement analyzes the political will of the parties, the management capability of the government and the support of society; but in a democracy with administrative autonomous branches, the capability of a harmonious collaboration is now being tested in order to bring to fruition the commitments of the administration.

Furthermore, another issue that has been present since the conversation phases: In a country with relative separation of powers (legislative, executive, judicial, and control entities) FARC came to agreements only with the executive power. With respect to the points that involve the other powers of government, the negotiating team, on behalf of the President, can only showcase, set and try to get the agreements approved; a similar case occurs with the justice administration.

In every aspect the implementation of the agreed on the peace table is very influenced by the degree of legitimacy it is afforded. There are sectors which oppose, others which support and defend and even others relatively “indifferent” to the pacts. The play of these forces and their level of influence is what ultimately will define which hindrances implementation will confront.

There are sectors which oppose, others which support and defend and even others relatively “indifferent” to the pacts.

With respect to implementing the Final Peace Accord the parties agreed to use a bilateral mechanism known as the Commission to Follow-up, Boost and Verify the Implementation of the Final Agreement (CSIVI, for its Spanish acronym) and to coordinate the specifics of reincorporating the former combatants into civil life, they also created a Council of National Reincorporation (CNR, for its Spanish acronym).

Implementation means developing actions in three relatively parallel dimensions; regulations, territorial development and reincorporation of former guerilla members.

Implementing regulations

Although some progress has been achieved given the proclamation of presidential and Congressional decrees (via fast track), there are still evident difficulties for the approval of:

  • A statutory law for the Special Peace Jurisdiction (JEP, for its Spanish acronym).
  • The political reform, as the current project does not include the proposal for the Special Electoral Mission.
  • The Special Territorial Districts, as regulations on the agricultural subject matter are practically inexistent.

The main concern lies in the changes and alterations introduced to the agreements, both by the Constitutional Court of Justice as by Congress, that for some are substantial and for others just procedural.

Up to now magistrates for JEP have been chosen, as well as members of the Truth Clarification Connivance and Non-Repetition Commission, and they are starting to put the National Reconciliation and Connivance National Council into place as well as the Unit for Search of Missing Persons.

Territorial implementation

The Agency for Territorial Renovation (ART, for its Spanish acronym) is concentrating on participative building of development programs with territorial focus (PEDTS, for its Spanish acronym), the most benefitted communities will be those which had a greater impact during the armed conflict.

Up to now they have prioritized 16 subregions and 170 municipalities based on criteria such as:

  • Poverty levels
  • Degree of impact as a consequence of the conflict
  • Weakness of administrative institutionality of managerial capability
  • Presence of illegal crops and other illegal economies.

They hope that for March of next year, the PEDTS will be completely established although funding and implementation is still a concern.

Another aspect by part of the administration was putting into action the National Comprehensive Substitution Program (PNS, for its Spanish acronym) for illegal crops which have summoned both the communities (to sign letters of commitment) for a concerted manual eradication, as with local institutions to build collective agreements in order to advance in crop substitution.

The initiative has collided with misinformation regarding the real cocaine plant planted area, and government budgeting issues

However the initiative has collided with misinformation regarding the real cocaine plant planted area, and government budgeting issues, as there is no certainty on medium term support, and the pressure from the United States to return to forceful eradication, potentially crop dusting .

And the pressure form the United States to return to forceful eradication, potentially crop dusting

Reincorporation of former combatants

More than 90% of the members of Farc gathered at the transitional normalization rural districts (ZVTN, for its Spanish acronym) have carried out a physical identification process as well as for their armament. Afterwards they surrendered their weaponry to the United Nations Verification Mission, despite delays in building and preparing of these areas.

The CNR mechanism set by the agreement implies that the policy is not solely decided by the administration but as a product of the agreement from both parties. The idea behind this is decentralization and for operation to be carried out by reincorporation territorial councils (CTR, for its Spanish acronym).

Up to now there are three main inputs for building a territorial reincorporation policy:

  • An socioeconomic census carried out by the Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal)
  • A health census to establish the current situation of people present at the training and reincorporation territorial areas (ETCR, for its Spanish acronym)
  • Literacy census (carried out by the Norwegian Refugee Council).

The territorial reincorporation plan for former combatants will be ready for the end of the month. Furthermore, as part of the political reincorporation, the legal political party for FARC (Common Revolutionary Alternative Force - Fuerza Alternativa Revolucionaria del Común) was established.

Safety warranties

With more than 50 social leaders slain and FARC members pardoned or living in former ZVTN areas, this topic has not shown significant progress.

It is necessary for comprehensive protection plans to be fulfilled, both for the communities and territories as well as for the members of the new political party, although it is especially important to send a clear message to the Colombian society to begin to accept former combatants as new citizens with complete and full rights.

Implementation challenges

It is also important to mention the technical and administrative weaknesses both on the national as the territorial entity level, which are a great barrier for the territorial implementation of the agreement commitments.

It is necessary for diverse social sectors to work on agreement appropriation, as this requires “political will” of the ruling government and those in charge of making the public policies in line with the agreements.

It is also important to control the territories, meaning to build government with support of territorial societies; respond rapidly to this challenge is fundamental to guarantee that the implementation of the agreement to have an adequate development and halt expansion or emergence of other forms of delinquency.


(*) This test was built with considerations regarding the first year of signing the peace agreement. Notre Dame's Kroc Institute, in charge of submitting an implementation follow-up has just submitted its official report.

Consejo Editorial