Following the definitive ceasefire with the FARC Canada sees great potential in Colombia, the rewards of peace may already be showing.
As part of a peace-building effort in LatAm, Canada is stepping up its aid program for Colombia.
Following the declaration of the definitive ceasefire with the FARC guerrilla, the Canadian International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced $57.4 million contribution for five peace implementation projects.
The program that is receiving the largest portion of the contribution is Multi-Donor Trust Fund of the United Nations for Post-Conflict in Colombia, a fund steered by the United Nations that collects resources from governments, the private sector and the civil society aimed towards implementing peace building initiatives at the grassroots level. Main objectives of this fund include: demining, improvements in social and economic infrastructure, local employment opportunities, food security and strengthening of public forces. Canada will provide $20 million over three years for this avail.
The Canadian government will also contribute $12.5 million to set up Landmine Action in Colombia, a program that will assist demining in 10 Colombian municipalities which will help Colombia comply with the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction (Ottawa Convention). The program will be set up with the assistance of The HALO trust, an NGO specialized in demining, the largest of its kind. “Demining means giving back the land to the population, allowing women to cultivate their land, to feed their families, to earn a revenue out of it,” said Minister Bibeau.
Another program that will receive contribution is Leading for Peace: Supporting the Rights of Children and Youth in Colombia, which will count with $18.9 million over five years. The project will help the Colombian government deliver protection and compensation to victims of armed conflict, mainly in Tumaco, Quibdó and Buenaventura, aiming to reach 84,000 children and 56,000 women.
Canada will also deliver support to the Agricultural Financial System, in the form of $4.5 million over five years. The program aims to support small scale agriculture through microfinancing, as well as training over 3,000 women in rural areas in financial know-how.
Finally, the Canadian government will also provide $1.5 million over three years for the Protecting Children’s Education in South-West Colombia program. This is actually an increase in funding for an existing project that aims to provide access to education for children in the department of Caquetá, where violence has torn children away from school.