From the secret phase of the talks (2010-2012) until the implementation of the Final Agreement (2016 to the present), the Colombian government and the FARC-EP jointly developed some measures for de-escalating the armed conflict and its impacts, for encouraging events that would maintain the rate of progress for the talks, and for generating important models (and lessons) for the implementation phase that also helped consolidate the terms of the dialogue between parties. These measures were premised on maintaining both the rhythm of the talks and the possibility for new agreements, contributing to the irreversibility and credibility of the process, and driving towards a definitive end to the confrontation between parties. As such, they were intended to confirm how seriousness the process was and to be realist in their design and execution. The majority of these measures were formally agreed to by both parties. However, the parties informally developed other measures independently, which, in line with the dynamics of the peace process and in light of international literature, can also be understood as confidence building measures (CBM), which range from de-escalation of language to unilateral ceasefire decisions.
These measures were also understood as an opportunity for concrete acts on the ground that increase confidence in the peace process: nothing that would alter or delay the talks, but something that gives society new, visible progress towards the end of the armed conflict. The development of these measures should also be gradual, in accordance with the impact they will have on the peace process and without requiring further adjustments or institutional efforts.
Among the mutually agreed upon measures with greater reach and visibility, there are notable early actions taken in different regions of Colombia from 2014 to 2016, including: the withdrawal of minors from the FARC-EP, the restitution of victim’s rights, the search for persons assumed missing, the delivery of their remains, the location of persons who died in captivity, the pardoning of FARC-EP members deprived of liberty, incremental plans for clearing the land of antipersonnel mines, and the pilot program for substituting illicit crops.
In this section, you can get a closer look at the different confidence building measures that were developed during the process of the talks, their characteristics and their reach, as well as the lessons learned from their implementation and their effect on the peace negotiations.