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Colombia: The role of CSOs in territories for sustainable peace

In the month of December, the government of Colombia and the armed group of the FARC-EP signed the “Final Peace Agreement”, ending the Colombian conflict with this group. Another process is expected with the ELN insurgent group in the coming months. In this new scenario, according to the Colombian Platform of NGOs, CCONG, the Colombian nation as a whole has the responsibility of participation, promotion, and contribution to construction, management, monitoring, and social control for the purpose of effectively transitioning towards peace and sustainable development.

According to CCONG (the Colombian Platform of NGOs), in order to achieve this, the CSOs must gather the collective social commitment and action that they know so well, as it can assist in consolidating the “territories with sustainable peace” in the medium and long term. It follows that they must implement 4 of their roles:

ROLE 1: CSOs must promote “Pedagogy and Education for Peace”. Mistakes must be remembered so that history is not repeated, so that behaviour and values can be modified, with teaching moments that transform hate and indignation into forgiveness and reconciliation, not repetition. Therefore, the ideals of pedagogy and education for peace stem from recognizing, valuing, disseminating, and sharing good practices that encourage a political and ethical commitment to reconciliation from its citizens, who respect diversity, multiculturalism, and the differences of others. Pedagogy for Peace should be the most valuable public asset for the next 15 years.

ROLE 2: Monitoring and ensuring compliance with the “Peace Agreements” are the main instruments for ensuring the consolidation and sustainability of territories with sustainable peace. During this difficult process, the CSOs (along with the private sector, the media, governing bodies, and the International Community) must lead the construction of a Citizen Monitoring System, which is reinforced by communicative pedagogical strategies to ensure that progress and achievements are made visible and popularised. Consolidation of Social Monitoring will help to consolidate the processes of Reporting – Auditing of Accounts by the governing bodies and the implementation of the law of access to public information.

ROLE 3: The CSOs must participate in strengthening and modifying the Public Policies which serve as a basis for the enforceability of the rights. This involves setting up collective actions to implement participatory public budgeting and planning, as well as the fight against corruption in favour of Transparency. Setting up “Political Dialogue” scenarios would be a good way to strengthen Decentralisation. It would also help for the citizens to reassess and re-evaluate these scenarios for the sake of their participation in achieving sustainable development.

Role 4: CSOs must reinvent collective action to enforce the guarantee of political and civil rights that allow them to exercise their Value Offer in Colombian democracy. It is only possible to create peace if you can count on the normative, institutional, financial, and political conditions that guarantee the “Enabling Environment” for exercising your rights to association, social mobility, freedom of expression, security, and the right to life of social leaders, as well as social control and citizen review.

CCONG commented that the vast majority of Colombians, both in Colombia and in other territories, will continue to hope for an end to the conflict. By strengthening trust and cooperation between the various public and private agents, agents in academia, players in the private sector, international organizations, and governing bodies, we can start to consolidate governance and begin sustainable development in all territories within the country.