Five years after the signing of the 2016 Final Agreement between the Colombian government and the former FARC-EP, implementation has not stopped, despite facing numerous obstacles. A new report from the Peace Accords Matrix (PAM) Barometer Initiative at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame presents the current status of peace accord implementation.
The institute’s sixth comprehensive report, “Five Years After the Signing of the Colombian Final Agreement: Reflections from Implementation Monitoring,” analyzes the period between December 2020 and November 2021 and includes both quantitative and qualitative analysis of the implementation of all 578 stipulations within the text of the agreement. It also identifies key advances and challenges facing the peace process as it enters its sixth year.
Completing the fifth year of accord implementation is a key milestone for Colombia. International experience demonstrates that after an agreement is signed, the first five-year period lays the foundation for peacebuilding processes and for significant transformations to occur over the next five-year period.
Five years after the signing of the Final Agreement, the status of overall implementation shows 30 percent of provisions complete, 19 percent in intermediate status, 37 percent in minimal implementation status and 15 percent uninitiated. The report highlights the need to increase the pace of implementation in order to complete all commitments from the Final Agreement by 2031, 15 years after the accord’s signing. Some percentages in the report's quantitative analysis reach a total of 101 percent, due to the fact that some of the quantities are approximated.
During this study period, the Kroc Institute observed a 2 percent change in completed stipulations. As of November 2021, the main challenge facing implementation was the low percentage of stipulations at an intermediate stage of implementation, as well as a high percentage at minimal and uninitiated levels (especially those provisions related to Comprehensive Rural Reform and Democratic Political Participation).
The report highlights advances within each of the agreement’s six points, as well as within the gender and ethnic approaches. Some key advances during this study period include the approval of 16 special seats for victims in Congress through the creation of the Special Transitory Peace Voting Districts with both gender and ethnic approaches, and the Security Council’s expansion of the U.N. Verification Mission’s mandate in order to include verifying the compliance with and implementation of Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) sanctions.
The report also highlights key challenges for each of the six points and transversal approaches within the agreement. These included limited implementation of guarantees for peaceful protest and guarantees to allow organizations and social movements to participate in democratic processes. Another challenge was a failure to approve laws and regulations meant to implement agreed-upon commitments for Comprehensive Rural Reform and the substitution of illicit-use crops, including laws that specify differential treatment for small growers and the creation of an agrarian jurisdiction.
In its review of the cross-cutting approaches within the Final Agreement, the report notes that, while some advances were observed, a gap still persists between implementation of the ethnic and gender approaches and overall implementation levels. By November 2021, overall implementation reached 30 percent of provisions completed, while the gender approach stood at only 12 percent complete and the ethnic approach at 13 percent.
The Kroc Institute report also includes comparative findings between the Colombian peace process and other peace accord implementation processes. The Kroc Institute’s analysis found that all truth commissions derived from comprehensive peace agreements have extended their mandate beyond the time limit specified at their formation. In this way, the seven-month extension of the mandate period for the Commission for the Truth, Coexistence and Non-Recurrence Commission in Colombia to ensure delivery of its final report and a two-month extension for disseminating the report fits this pattern. Similarly, it was also found that other truth commission mandate extensions did not stem from unforeseen circumstances, such as a pandemic, which did have an impact in Colombia.
Additionally, the Kroc Institute found that dispute resolution mechanisms and monitoring and verification bodies play an important role in ensuring higher standards and guaranteeing the success of implementation. The Final Agreement included the creation of the Commission for Monitoring, Promoting and Verifying the Implementation of the Final Agreement (CSIVI), which fills this role, but the addition of an impartial third party within this forum could increase implementation levels.
The sixth comprehensive report concludes with recommendations specifically aimed at strengthening commitments to the implementation process in the midst of ongoing congressional and government transitions in Colombia. These recommendations include promoting broad ownership of the truth commission’s final report (due to be released in June) and building a CSIVI work plan to cover the government transition period that includes a review of the parameters and goals within the Framework Plan for Implementation whose implementation is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.
The Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies is part of the Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame and is one of the leading peace research and study centers in the world. One of its main programs is the Peace Accords Matrix (PAM), which manages the most comprehensive database regarding the implementation of 34 peace accords around the world.
By mandate of the government of Colombia and the former FARC-EP, signatory parties of the Final Agreement to End the Armed Conflict and Build a Stable and Lasting Peace, the Kroc Institute is responsible for monitoring the implementation of the agreement. The Kroc Institute has released five prior reports on the status of overall implementation, as well as three reports on implementation of gender provisions and two reports on implementation of ethnic provisions. Review all reports here: https://peaceaccords.nd.edu/barometer/colombia-reports.
The main partner of the Kroc Institute in Colombia is the National Secretariat of Pastoral Social Cáritas Colombiana, an initiative of the Catholic Church. The organization has extensive experience and has been recognized for its social justice efforts and its support for efforts to consolidate peace in local communities throughout the country.