The last of nearly 7,000 FARC guerilla members entered designated camps on February 18, completing a critical step in Colombia’s historic peace deal. As the government begins to implement the agreement, the Inter-American Dialogue launched its new report “Peace and Environmental Protection in Colombia: Proposals for Sustainable Rural Development,” which describes how the post-conflict agenda creates an opportunity to meet rural economic development and environmental protection objectives.
A panel of experts, including Juan Pablo Bonilla, manager of the Climate Change and Development Sector at the Inter-American Development Bank, Paulina Arroyo, program officer in the Andes-Amazon Initiative at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Paula Diaz, senior manager for responsible mining and energy at Conservation International and Lisa Viscidi, director of the Energy, Climate Change and Extractive Industries Program at
the Inter-American Dialogue commented on the report and its key findings. The panelists agreed that clearly delineating environmentally protected areas in conflict zones, building the capacity of municipal level governments and working with the private sector to ensure sustainable economic development are critical to ensuring environmental protection in the post-conflict period. A broad group of multilateral agencies, international donors and non-governmental organizations are supporting the Colombian government in its efforts to undertake land reform, demobilization of FARC combatants and eradication of illicit crops, three key points in the peace agreement. The panelists discussed these efforts as well as the main challenges to aligning economic and sustainable development goals.