UN Secretary-General calls for accelerating actions that translate into benefits for communities

7 Apr 2024

UN Secretary-General calls for accelerating actions that translate into benefits for communities

Bogotá, 7 April 2024. – In his most recent report on the UN Verification Mission in Colombia, covering the period from 27 December 2023 to 26 March 2024, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, applauds the courage and the persistence that Colombians have demonstrated in seeking to confront and resolve deep-seated issues that have affected social and political life in their country for decades. He calls upon them to keep their sights firmly set on the overarching goal of achieving a durable peace and to prioritize dialogue to resolve their differences.

“A successful implementation of the Final Agreement has the potential to set a standard against which current and future peace processes will be measured in Colombia, as well as internationally," says the Secretary-General. However, he adds, “this will require faster and more comprehensive actions that translate its vision into transformative changes.” While the report acknowledges significant important progress to date, it highlights as of particular importance at this stage “that stakeholders and beneficiaries, including victims, rural communities, ethnic peoples and former combatants alike, begin to more tangibly experience the positive impact of some of the key provisions of the Final Agreement.”

Recognizing the inextricable link between the implementation of the Final Peace Agreement and the outcomes of ongoing efforts to resolve the armed conflict through dialogue, the Secretary-General “strongly encourages all sides to commit to these processes and take full advantage of the window of opportunity they represent for finding holistic and durable solutions to the challenges they have identified and to benefit from the opportunities afforded by peace”.

The Secretary General commends the Government and the ELN for the achievements made so far at the dialogue table, "a process which has progressed beyond any other previous attempts between the two sides", and calls upon the parties to build upon these accomplishments and to continue to work at the negotiation table with the long-term interest of Colombia in mind. In addition, the Secretary General says that the new round of talks between the Government and the EMC FARC-EP is an opportunity to overcome difficulties, strengthen the ceasefire and move forward with the definition of an agenda for the talks: “I call for a stop to the violence against the civilian population. Lives and the credibility of the process depend on it”.

The report underscores the significant responsibility of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) as a cornerstone of the Agreement’s structural framework. “Its success will lie in its ability to deliver justice promptly, for the benefit of the many victims of the conflict, combined with the sense of legal certainty that is to be afforded to former combatants, members of the public security forces and other contributors to the conflict who are under its jurisdiction, as part of the overarching political settlement between the Government of Colombia and FARC-EP.” The Secretary-General calls for constructive dialogue among all concerned parties, within the established framework of the Final Agreement, to overcome the recently encountered obstacles. 

On the Comprehensive Rural Reform, the report welcomes the notorious budget increases for 2024 by the National Land Agency and the Agency for Rural Development, which demonstrate that this reform remains a priority for the Government. He underlines the need for the strategic use of these resources and interinstitutional coordination as a prerequisite for achieving the reform-related goals in 2024 and thus ensuring that land delivery efforts reach vulnerable groups such as landless peasants, victims of conflict and rural women.

According to the report, the reintegration of former combatants is moving towards long-term actions that require sustained cooperation between the Agency for Reintegration and Normalization (ARN) and former combatants, as well as their representatives, with the active involvement of government and state entities at the national, regional and local levels.  He recalls that the approval of key decrees is still pending, including those formalizing the Comprehensive Reintegration Program, establishing the National Reintegration System, and relating to the special areas of collective reintegration.

Regarding security guarantees for peace signatories, the Secretary-General regrets the killing of 10 former combatants in the quarter, for a total of 416 homicides of former combatants since the signing of the Agreement. Among them are 11 women, 50 indigenous individuals, and 57 Afro-Colombians. He adds that, since the signing of the Agreement, 87 former combatants were killed while under or awaiting protection measures.

With figures from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the report states the disproportionate impact faced by ethnic communities in terms of displacement and confinement, which represented 64% of the population affected. Between 27 December 2023 and 25 March 2024, 14,365 persons were displaced and 35,432 confined. Similarly, the report includes the 42 complaints of killings of human rights defenders and social leaders during the reported period, with data from UN Human Rights (2 verified, 37 under verification and 3 inconclusive).

The report notes that security guarantees are a core goal of the Agreement and a precondition for overcoming the structural causes of the conflict. In this regard, he stresses that lasting improvements in this area depend on extending and integrated presence of the State and its services throughout the country. He adds that the lack of formalization of decrees has led to stagnation in the implementation of key instruments such as the policy of dismantling illegal armed groups and criminal organizations, and the comprehensive protection programme for former combatants.

The report highlights that the implementation of the Ethnic Chapter continues to face challenges and welcomes the establishment by the Vice-Presidency of high-level round tables to promote compliance with the Pact to accelerate its implementation.

With regards to the gender provisions of the Agreement, the report highlights the need to increase the resources allocated to government entities in order to accelerate their implementation. The gender provisions relating to the Comprehensive Rural Reform, Ethnic Chapter and Political Participation are some of the least advanced.

Finally, the Secretary General highlights that, while the ongoing ceasefires have produced concrete benefits, in particular with respect to the effective reduction of armed confrontation between the sides, they are preliminary, limited in scope, and temporary by nature: “As the parties discuss their longer-term plans, with United Nations and international support, it is important that they seek to both strengthen civilian protection commitments and complement the ceasefires with immediate concrete measures for the benefit of communities in the short term, especially in conflict-affected regions.”

The report of the Secretary-General will be presented by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Colombia, Mr. Carlos Ruiz Massieu, to the United Nations Security Council on 9 April 2024.



Download the Report of the Secretary-General on the UN Verification Mission in Colombia. S/2024/267

Download the Infographic Report of the Secretary-General on the UN Verification Mission in Colombia. S/2024/267