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Post-War Land Use Change in Colombia

Workshop, 4. – 6. September 2019

Colombian land rights and governance systems are weak, poorly documented and overlapping. Combined with the demand for land, this increases the competition over land use and results in land grabbing, instability as well as new conflicts and further violence. Rural populations are threatened by expropriation of their land and displacement through armed groups who want to strengthen their territorial control, seize and hold valuable land and transport illegal drugs more easily. Additionally the inequalities in access to lands and income distribution have led to the exploitation as well as destruction of the environment.
After experiencing a several decades long conflict the peace agreement between the government and the largest guerrilla group has led the country into a new post-conflict era, that will hopefully result in participatory, representative and inclusive political processes and government institutions that clarify land and resource rights.
According to CAPAZ (The German-Colombian Peace Institute) two of the main challenges in creating sustainable peace following the peace agreement will be the implementation below the national level and the building as well as the promotion of a post-conflict society. This counts especially for the regions that were affected most by the armed conflict. There, the access to land and natural resources is decided in violent confrontations combined with minor levels of social and political participation. The aim here is to strengthen local governments and the participatory processes while incorporating knowledge and experiences from past processes of change.
For the future there is the expectation that governments on national, regional and local levels should be able counter the sources of instability and violent conflicts through promotion of a sustainable territorial development based on an agrarian reform, environmental conservation as well as economic inclusion. (Neil Palmer/CIAT)
Workshop aim

This workshop will explore land use and land rights changes in the post-war Colombia as well as the main drivers of change. Bringing together different perspectives, methodological approaches and experiences, this workshop will look at the ways in which joint research between Colombian and German academy may help to identifying key land use and land rights concerns and proposing potential solutions for sustainable territorial development.

Major Topics & Key Questions

For this the workshop focuses on three main topics which are:

  1. Land grabbing, land restitution, land conflicts: What is the status of rural land reform in Colombia? What are its main challenges?
  2. Land use trends and drivers: What are the main drivers of forest degradation in Colombia? Why the alternative crop policy seems to be failing?
  3. The climate-land-energy-water-development nexus: What are the most important sustainable development issues that need to be prioritized in Colombia?  What are the interlinkages between them?
Source: (Pedro Szekely)
Source: (Neil Palmer/CIAT)
Sustainable Peace

The German-Colombian Peace Institute (CAPAZ, in Spanish), funded in late 2016, aims to accompany the peace process in Colombia from a perspective that combines research, teaching and outreach. The CAPAZ Institute is a cooperation platform for disseminating knowledge about peace studies in order to contribute to the consolidation of a society that transcends the post-conflict stage.

According to CAPAZ, one of the biggest challenges of the peace agreement will be its implementation at a sub-national level (paz territorial, in Spanish) and the promotion of a post-conflict society.

The CAPAZ aims at contributing to developing appropriate solutions by analyzing root causes of the conflict and their relation with the peace agreement. Two of the key issues are:

  • strengthening local government and participation of social society; and
  • land reform (land restitution and land distribution). 
Source: (crustmania)