Kroc Institute releases special report on ethnic approach within the Colombian Peace Agreement

Author: Jena O'Brien

Mision Bajo Atrato

The Peace Accords Matrix (PAM) at the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies has released a new special report outlining the current implementation status of the ethnic approach within the 2016 Colombian Peace Agreement. The ethnic chapter within the agreement is highly innovative and addresses the systemic and disproportionate victimization that ethnic communities suffered during the country’s armed conflict. It includes commitments meant to safeguard human rights and protections for these communities.

The special second report, “Challenges and Opportunities to Incorporate the Ethnic Focus in Territorial Implementation,” covers implementation of the ethnic approach from November 2020 through November 2021. During this period, the institute found that the gap between overall implementation of the peace agreement and implementation of the ethnic approach persisted. This was particularly apparent among completed commitments.

The Kroc Institute has identified 80 stipulations in the peace agreement that are used for monitoring the ethnic approach, including 13 stipulations from the Ethnic Chapter under Point 6. This report analyzed more than 300 implementation events and consulted secondary sources at both the territorial and national levels. During the study period, no stipulations relating to the ethnic focus were completed, although there were slight changes in stipulations at the non-initiated, minimum and intermediate levels.

The report also notes a decrease in ethnic stipulations that hadn’t begun, moving from 21 percent in 2020 to 15 percent in 2021. This constitutes the greatest change recorded during the period of the report. Ethnic stipulations at a minimum level of implementation changed from 58 percent to 60 percent, and those in an intermediate stage moved from 9 percent in 2020 to 13 percent in 2021. Completed stipulations under the ethnic approach stand at 13 percent. Because no provisions were completed during this period, the gap between implementation of the ethnic approach and overall implementation of the accord has increased 1 percent.

The special report also includes qualitative analysis exploring four thematic areas within the ethnic approach: effective participation of communities and free, prior and informed consultation; territorial transformation in ethnic communities; reincorporation and security guarantees; and ethnic community victims in the Comprehensive System for Peace.

Despite challenges in completing stipulations with an ethnic focus, the Kroc Institute believes progress can continue to be made, and the report highlights key opportunities to strengthen implementation of the ethnic approach. Opportunities include the increase and improvement of effective participation alongside the right to free, prior and informed consultation. This can be achieved through the work of the Office of the Presidential Councilor for Stabilization and Consolidation and its promotion of dialogue between the Special High-Level Forum with Ethnic Peoples and the Commission for Monitoring, Promoting and Verifying the Implementation of the Final Agreement.

Other opportunities highlighted include work by the Reincorporation and Normalization Agency to conclude consultation processes with ethnic communities to advance processes for reincorporation of ex-combatants with an ethnic approach, and focused efforts by the Special Jurisdiction for Peace to issue judicial decisions on macro territorial cases where most victims belong to ethnic communities. Continued attention on international agencies actively accompanying and promoting implementation of the ethnic approach will also be important.

The Kroc Institute will release its sixth comprehensive report on overall Peace Agreement implementation in Colombia in June.

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 created the most comprehensive database regarding the implementation of 34 peace agreements 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 a report on implementation of ethnic provisions. Review all reports here:

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.

Access the full report here (in English).

Access the full report here (in Spanish).