Institutionalizing for Peace

The Colombian state undertook a variety of measures to guarantee the necessary conditions and to facilitate the development of the conversations between the government and the FARC-EP that took place from 2010 to 2016, setting the stage for the negotiations. These measures range from issuing regulations to creating entities with specific responsibilities in the implementation of the Final Agreement. The events of these years had some important precedents, among them: (i) the existence of the Office of the High Commissioner for Peace, appointed by the president of the republic and whose responsibilities include advancing peace conversations with armed groups; (ii) the Fund for Special Peace Programs (Fondopaz) as the financial and operational arm of the peace office; (iii) public-order laws that were issued at the end of the 1990s and are updated every four years, providing a regulatory framework and defining the terms and conditions for proceeding with these conversations; (iv) a victims law (Law 1448 of 2011) that recognized the existence of the armed conflict and its effects and defined the policy of reparations for victims; and (v) a legal framework for peace (Legislative Act 01 of 2012) that defined legal judgments for profound human rights violations like those that happened in Colombia during the decades of violence.

During the secret and public phases of the conversations (2010-2016), a variety of institutional measures were taken to facilitate the conversations and the joint decisions that the parties took, as well as to prepare for the eventual implementation of the Final Agreement that the parties would reach. Evidence of this can be seen in the administrative actions that formally recognized the participation of government and FARC-EP members in the conversations (in the case of the FARC-EP, they allowed the suspension of their arrest warrants) or in the execution of some confidence building measures (pilot programs for demining or for substituting illicit crops), as well as in the creation of entities that would have key roles in the implementation of a final agreement, like the High Council for the Post-Conflict or the Land Renovation Agency (in charge of implementing the Development Programs with a Territorial Focus (PDET, according to its Spanish initials) contained in the rural reform item).

In addition to preparing for the implementation of an agreement, institutions like the Victims Unit, the National Center for Historical Memory or the Office of the High Commissioner for Peace proceeded, parallel to the peace conversations, in fulfilling their mission through reparations for victims, by investigating events that happened within the frame of the conflict, or by developing educational, national reconciliation and coexistence activities, respectively. For the implementation phase of the agreement (2016 to the present), a large set of regulations were developed (via special presidential powers and a special legislative proceeding), in addition to adjustments to government bodies and new institutional arrangements, with the aim of fulfilling what the Final Agreement establishes in its different items.

In this section, you can find analyses of and reflections on the measures and resources deployed by the Colombian state to facilitate the recent talks and the implementation of the agreement.