The gender component… sits very well with what the European Union wants to do it supporting this agreement, because gender equality is very much at the heart of the EU‛s principles.
*ABColombia & contributors of Towards Transformative Change
The Final Peace Accord (FPA)commits to a ‘genuine structural transformation of the countryside [and]… measures to promote appropriate use of the land … to stimulate the titling, restitution and equitable distribution thereof, by guaranteeing progressive access to rural property… in particular, to rural women and to the most vulnerable communities… by legalising and democratising property and promoting broader ownership of land…’
The majority of those forcibly displaced from the rural regions were Afro-Colombian, Indigenous and peasant farmer communities and women; the Colombian Constitutional Court found that there was a strong link between forced displacement and CSV, both in causing the forced displacement and in relation to women’s and girls’ vulnerability to it once displaced.
Up until 2016, the conflict had generated 7.7 million internally displaced people (IDPs) from over 8 million hectares of land.
Rural women – Indigenous, Afro- descendant and peasant farmers – have been disproportionately impacted by forced displacement. This phenomenon continues today: even after the signing of the FPA, 94% of those who were forcibly displaced in the first few months of 2017 came from Indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities.
The FPA chapters on a Comprehensive Rural Reform (RRI), Solution to the Illicit Drugs Problem, the Ethnic Perspectives and the Agreements regarding the Victims of the Conflict contain most of the agreements which propose rural reform and development; and there is an interdependence between these agreements.
Comprehensive Rural Reform
The first Chapter in the FPA, the RRI, was designed to address the underlying structural causes of the armed conflict, including social and economic injustices and unequal access to land. As a result of gender inequality, rural women experience economic and political inequalities more harshly, especially, peasant farmers, Indigenous and Afro-Colombian women, and women survivors of gender- based violence.15
The prioritisation of rural women is therefore fundamental to addressing structural poverty in the countryside.
A key aspect in addressing rural poverty is ensuring access to land for the poorest.The FPA created a Land Fund, whose‘beneficiaries… [include] female farm workers without land or with insufficient land, with priority being given to … rural women, female heads of households and displaced persons.’
In addition, women are prioritised for sustainable productive projects, technical services and credit. Legal problems related to rural property will also be addressed, through an administrative and judicial procedure to formalise land titles. These measures will help women’s socio- economic development, which is essential for the consolidation of peace, as studies show that if women are supported in their initiatives, this has a positive impact on the whole community.
Development Plans with Territorial Approach (PDETs)
One of the flag-ship programmes of the RRI Chapter are the PDETs.
These are development plans designed to rapidly address structural poverty and integrated rural development, and will cover ‘10,000 villages, 425 Indigenous reservations, 3,015 community councils from Afro-Colombian communities, and 6 farming land- reserve zones’, amounting to 250,000 people.
PDETs will be delivered by 16 rural development plans to 170 municipalities in areas most impacted by the conflict, with the highest indices of extreme poverty and inequality, the presence of illicit crops, and the poorest performance of local state institutions.
They aim to eradicate extreme poverty, reduce poverty by 50% and address structural inequality. The PDETs will cover development at the local and regional levels, addressing land use, economic regeneration, environmental issues, infrastructure, basic services and rural housing, as well as the right to food.
The state is responsible for providing the resources necessary for the implementation of these PDETs, which have a life-span of up to 15-years with a maximum effort of compliance in the first five years.
PDETs are an effort to deliver on one of the FPA’s central objectives of re-invigorating the peasant farmer (campesino) economy and increased citizen participation. They create spaces for ‘citizen participation in the discussion of development plans, public policies … [and have] a direct impact on the decision-making of the relevant public authorities.
PDETs will form part of the Action Plans for Regional Transformation (PATR).
PATR are constructed using a three-phase process:
- sub-municipal/village-level, which develop community pacts (PDETs);
- municipal level, which analyses the community pacts and develops the municipal pacts;
- Sub-regional level which takes the municipal pacts and develops the PATR.
The participatory methodology for Ethnic Peoples established in Decree 893 of 2017 means that these plans are then consulted with the Special Consultation Mechanism.
The newly created Land Renewal Agency (Agencia de Renovación del Territorio – ART) has the responsibility of holding participative workshops in villages with the aim of actively engaging communities, together with mayors, governors, businesspeople, universities and churches in the design of the PDETs. One objective of bringing together this variety of local actors is to facilitate a transformation in relationships at the local level and promote the building of trust between local institutions and rural communities.
Sustainable peace and prosperity will depend on state institutions establishing their legitimacy; an important aspect of this will be demonstrating that government institutions have mechanisms for accountability and transparency.
Additionally, legitimacy will depend on fulfilling, the FPA’s commitment to the gender-based approach, by ensuring the effective participation of women in decision-making spaces; to achieve this, affirmative action will have to be taken in favour of women’s participation, and the protection of pluralism without discrimination. In the long term, it will be important to ensure that differential approaches to gender and ethnic specificities are integrated into the programmes designed to boost governance capabilities in the regions. (Photos: Pixabay)
Next edition: “Women and Development: PDET Consultative Workshops”