Innovations in the Colombian peace process

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Executive summary

By Kristian Herbolzheimer

The Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia insurgents are about to reach a comprehensive peace agreement after almost four years of peace negotiations in Havana. This agreement is a major milestone in the process of settling one of the world’s most protracted and violent conflicts. At a time of unprecedented humanitarian crisis, Colombia is becoming a global reference for identifying political solutions to apparently intractable conflicts. In their third major attempt in five decades to reach a negotiated solution to the conflict, the parties to the conflict have taken stock of both their own past failures and lessons learned from other peace processes. In doing so they have developed innovative frameworks and approaches, e.g. a clear procedural distinction between peace negotiations and the peace process; positioning the rights of the victims at the centre of the talks; addressing the structural problem of rural development; creating a Gender Subcommission; and planning for implementation long before the agreement is signed.

This report describes these innovations and other developments leading up to the widely predicted peace agreement that might be relevant to peace processes elsewhere.