Colombia

The SDC primarily focuses its efforts in Colombia on delivering basic services and strengthening protection for victims of conflicts. However, these efforts also extend to other areas, including water access, water management and sanitation projects.

Map of Colombia
© FDFA

In 2012, the Colombian government announced that it would start formal peace talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). This process led to the adoption of several pieces of legislation, including the Victims and Land Restitution Act. Although roundly applauded nationally and internationally, certain factions continue to oppose these negotiations, and organised violence remains an intractable problem. The SDC concentrates its efforts in Colombia on alleviating the worrying humanitarian situation faced by the victims of conflict. Its general strategy is designed to advance the processes towards conflict resolution and reconciliation. SDC cooperation in Colombia comes in a range of forms, including bilateral and multilateral partnerships, as well as direct action.

Humanitarian Aid

Delivery of basic services to victims of conflict

Emergency humanitarian aid covers the basic needs of conflict-affected communities by giving them access to drinking water, and providing them with food and primary health care. This action not only secures the livelihoods of vulnerable populations, but also builds their institutional and organisational capacities, thereby equipping them to participate in the reconciliation process. The SDC is particularly active in rural areas.

Humanitarian Aid

Land governance

Protectionfor victims of conflict: land restitution

The Victims and Land Restitution Act, which was adopted in 2011, includes a number of mechanisms to protect the civilian population. They draw on the «Do-No-Harm» approach, which seeks to ensure that aid does not become a new source of conflict. This approach comprises three main strands:

  • strengthening institutions
  • capacity building (individual level)
  • knowledge management

The Minister of Agriculture is responsible for administering the Act according to this approach, and is assisted in this process by experts from the National University of Colombia together with CDA-Collaborative Learning Projects, an American organisation.

Engagement in fragile contexts and prevention of violent conflicts

Water

Guaranteeing vulnerable communities access to water; improving sanitation and water management

Everyone, especially those living in rural communities, is entitled to a sustainable supply of water, as well as adequate sanitation. As part of a public-private partnership, Swiss and Colombian firms studied household water consumption. Their findings paved the way for a pilot project designed to improve water management in Colombia. In turn, the knowledge and experience acquired during the project led to the launch of a second phase, this time involving seven major Colombian firms. The National Cleaner Production Centre (NCPC) coordinates the project.

Water

History of cooperation

From humanitarian aid to transition support

In 2001, the SDC opened an office in Bogota to oversee its humanitarian programme designed to improve the living conditions of victims of armed conflict. Colombia has also been an SDC priority country since 2009.

Current projects

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UNMAS: Regional coordination for Mine Action

05.02.2020 - 04.10.2020

SDC will support UNMAS to consolidate and expand the Mine Action Authority (The Office of the High Counsellor for Peace - Descontamina Colombia) capacity to coordinate with regional and local authorities in 13 prioritized mine-affected departments, ass well as with other public socio-economic development policies. This will ensure transition period to new local and regional governments and the inclusion of Mine Action public policy in the general planning of 13 prioritized departments, facilitating the improvement of efficiency and efficacy of Mine Action in the field. It will build on a project previously financed by the UN Multipartner Trust Fund for Sustaining Peace, within the implementation of the Peace Accord and the MIne Ban Treaty's obligation to have a mine-free country. 


CRC: Integration of migrants and host communities in Cali

01.11.2019 - 31.01.2021

SDC will support the Colombian Red Cross (Cruz Roja Colombiana, CRC) in improving cultural and socioeconomic integration of Venezuelan migrants, Colombian returnees and vulnerable host communities in Cali. This project will work on the nexus between responding to humanitarian needs and building conditions for socioeconomic stabilization among migrants, returnees and vulnerable population. It will take place in a context of protection risks especially for women, youngsters and children associated to illegal economies and armed actors.


IDB Migration Initiative (Clean drinking water and sanitation program for la Guajira)

01.10.2019 - 30.09.2022

Switzerland supports to the newly created Migration Initiative of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) that was created in support of Latin American and Caribbean migrants and their host communities and accordingly contributes to deter grave development crisis by empowering communities to foster integration and consequently to strengthen stability of the region and Colombia in particular.


HI: ACTIVA – Integrated mine action in Cauca and Nariño

15.05.2019 - 31.01.2021

SDC will support Humanity & Inclusion (HI) in contributing to peace, early recovery and socioeconomic development of indigenous, peasant and afro-descendant communities in the departments of Cauca and Nariño, under the Government Stabilization Policy. The focus of the third phase will be on a comprehensive approach (mine risk education, humanitarian demining, victim rehabilitation and advocacy) that involves recovery of community economies and infrastructure. It will bring a broader impact and better cost-efficiency relationship.


SDC Education Fund

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2021

As part of its increased commitment for Education and of the implementation of SDC’s Education Strategy, the SDC launches an Education Fund in order to incentivize innovation and the application of new approaches in basic education/vocational skills development and through educational activities across sectors. Innovation can have a catalytic effect on the effectiveness of programmes in and through education. Education is a core enabler for sustainable development and is an important lever in Switzerland’s commitment to promote human and economic development, peace and stability. 


CCCM: Comprehensive Mine Action in Algeciras

24.11.2018 - 23.03.2021

SDC will continue supporting the clearance of antipersonnel mines explosive/unexploded ordnances/ improvised explosive devices in the municipality of Algeciras (Huila), as part of the implementation of the peace accord with the FARC-EP. This project aims to protect highly affected communities by the armed conflict and create conditions for socioeconomic and territorial development in a zone where the FARC-EP had a historic presence. This contribution will address a key issue for a sustainable peace in Colombia. It will also strengthen Campaña Colombiana Contra Minas (CCCM), which is the first Colombian association accredited for humanitarian demining.


Scaling up of the comprehensive model of water and sanitation for promotion of territorial peace to rural areas of 6 departments of the country (ASIR-SABA)

06.02.2018 - 31.12.2020

SDC will continue, on one hand, supporting the implementation of the institutional strengthening plans in Valle and Cauca in order to guarantee the closing of processes that initiated during the phase 1. On the other hand, the scaling-up of the technical assistance model proposed by SABA will start in la Guajira, Boyacá, Antioquia and Nariño. This project aims to contribute to peacebuilding in rural territories though improving the quality of life of the rural population, through differential schemes that allow sustainable management for the provision of water and sanitation (W & S).


ApS: Territory as a space for peace: governance, education for peace and access to basic services and livelihoods as key elements for development and post-conflict in the Pacific Region

25.09.2017 - 30.09.2020

SDC will support ApS in improving living conditions of rural and ethnic communities in the Pacific Region affected by the armed conflict and natural events with a rights-based approach. The focus of this phase will be on an exit strategy that links humanitarian aid, rehabilitation and development in four departments that were under the influence of the FARC. It will contribute to peacebuilding efforts in Colombia while addressing humanitarian needs in zones where armed violence has increased and state responses have been weak.


RNEC: provide legal identity for vulnerable people located in areas of FARC Demobilization

15.06.2017 - 31.12.2020

SDC will support the National Institution for the Registry of Civil Status (Registraduría Nacional del Estado Civil RNEC in Spanish) in the process of registration of vulnerable population located in areas where the demobilization of FARC will be carried out. Access to legal registration is a measure of protection of communities at risk or affected by armed conflict, and will also allow access to other basic and social services, such as health and education.


NRC: Protection, humanitarian assistance and durable solutions for people affected by the armed conflict in Chocó and by the humanitarian crisis on the border Colombia-Venezuela

15.06.2017 - 30.09.2020

SDC will support NRC in reducing the vulnerability of the population affected by the ongoing armed conflict in Chocó and by the humanitarian crisis on the border Colombia-Venezuela. On one hand, responding to the impacts as a result of the prolonged crisis within Venezuela, the population is expected to develop the capacity to identify protection risks and strategies to mitigate them. On the other hand, as for the internal situation in Chocó in the frame of the victims’ reparation, the project seeks to promote their active participation in processes addressed to implement durable solutions.


El Agua Nos Une – SuizAgua América Latina

Fabricato - industrial water treatment and reuse plant

01.01.2016 - 31.12.2020

Strategic partnerships for water management

Water management is one of the main challenges of the 21st century. Thus, the knowledge generation to make decisions and better collaboration among sectors; are the axis of the present and future well-being of humanity. The initiative “El Agua Nos Une” articulates the work of public institutions, business associations and research centers. It aims at: i) scaling corporate water stewardship in Colombia; ii) strengthening knowledge on water uses, particularly in the agricultural sector; iii) contributing to the national water quality and quantity monitoring program; iv) developing an investment scheme in ecosystem services; and; v) facilitating a community of practice on water footprint and corporate water management in Latin America.


Handicap International: Comprehensive action against Antipersonnel Mines (APM) and Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) in three departments of Colombia.

01.08.2015 - 31.05.2017

The five decades running armed conflict in Colombia continues to cause humanitarian needs such as internal displacement, landmine contamination and the recruitment of minors by armed groups. Departments of Nariño, Cauca and Cordoba, by geography serve as strategic corridor to the Pacific and Caribe for the cultivation, production and trafficking of drugs, weapons and illegal mining among others, becoming scenario of social conflicts and armed confrontation. Rural communities in those departments are among the most affected by antipersonnel mines (APM) and Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) which generate victims with poor access to physical and psychosocial services, as well as option for social, economic and educational inclusion.

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