The Barometer Initiative in Colombia: Engaging and inclusive monitoring of peace agreement implementation
25 February 13:00
Manor Road Building, University of Oxford
This seminar hosted by CONPEACE, OxPeace and the Latin American Centre was an insight into the multidimensional methodology used by the Kroc Institute to monitor Colombia’s peace accord implementation. The Kroc representative made clear the differences between the negotiation and the implementation process enhancing the particular challenges associated with each phase. The implementation is a complex open process where many agents of the conflict are willing to actively participate in peacebuilding initiatives. This further contributes to involve diverse civil society, organisations and government members committed to generating legitimacy and local support toward what was accorded.
The Kroc Institute’s tailor-made methodology - based on local and national needs - includes fieldwork, reports, media and publications as sources of information. These are subsequently translated into quantitative data that allows a clear comparison between the initial and the current state of the implementation accords. Rather than being a fixed matrix, the Kroc Institute has carried out real-time analysis, also known as a learning and adapting strategy. This means that decision-making processes are based on evidence that allows policymakers to create evidence-based solutions and suggestions. So far, the accord implementations have demonstrated to be an ongoing project where not only the government but international organisations and local communities have committed themselves to effectively deliver peace, especially in marginalised areas. This has been a hopeful scenario for peacebuilders after the change of government that suggested a dubious follow-up of what was previously accorded. Implementation of the Peace Accord’s Point 3 (End of Conflict) and Point 6 (Implementation, Verification and Public Endorsement) have progressed well over the first two years. Points 1 (Comprehensive Rural Reform) and 2 (Political Participation), in contrast, show very little progress – although it is important to contextualise here. Point 1 included many long-term commitments so lack of progress is more understandable; whereas many of the Point 2 commitments should have been completed swiftly in order to encourage positive (and avoid negative) cascades.
Gaps were also identified in implementation of the peace accord’s differential and regional approaches, and thus their monitoring. On the first aspect, gender and ethnic reports will be published but because these communities are particularly vulnerable in conflict areas the importance of further understanding their local dynamic has been raised by researchers. On the other hand, statistics show a national panorama and not a local perspective such as the border region between Venezuela and Colombia where organised crime is getting stronger, mass-exodus has generated a humanitarian crisis and a negative response from the local inhabitants, and the illicit economy is not only diversifying but increasing. The Kroc Institute has recognised the need to study the Venezuelan Crisis’ impact in Colombia as a direct instability agent for the accord implementation.
The Kroc Institute has a glimpse on the ‘good practices’ that have emerged in parallel to the implementation of the accords. They consider though that these are initiatives by civil society members need to be studied, enhanced and documented in order to support the local strategies, and to replicate them in other marginalised areas.