About Colombia in Focus
After decades of armed conflict, a peace process with the FARC-EP guerrilla movement was concluded in Colombia in 2016, serving as both a challenge and opportunity for the future of territorial peace, justice, and democracy in the country. In cooperation with local policymakers, experts, and social movements, TNI's work in Colombia revolves around the institute's cross-cutting expertise in trade policy, agrarian and environmental justice, and drug policy.
Following more than four years of peace talks in Havana, the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have taken important steps towards a definitive agreement to end the decades-long armed conflict in the country. Nevertheless, this peace process has largely been guided by the government's neoliberal principles and practices, which have "nothing to do with resolving the social, economic and political fractures that gave origin to the armed conflict."
In relation to agrarian and environmental issues, TNI critically analyses the dynamics in which public policies and political processes, such as trade agreements, land policies or, most recently, the peace negotiations between the Government of Colombia and the insurgent groups, have affected (rural) communities and their collective efforts to democratise access to land, water, and other natural resources. Furthermore, TNI aims to counter and offer alternatives to policy approaches which are predominantly based on the commodification and financialisation of nature and its resources.
On the issue of trade and investment agreements, TNI conducts extensive research on the impact of bilateral and multilateral trade agreements on Colombia's population peace process and its implications on the ground. In collaboration with partners and local organisations, TNI analyses and proposes (trade and investment) policies that prioritise people and the environment over corporate interests, mainly in relation with the free trade agreement (FTA) between the EU and Colombia. Special attention is also being dedicated for the fight against corporate impunity, especially with regard to the social and environmental repercussions of extractive industries in Colombia.
Lastly, TNI has long advocated for drug policies which focus on (public) health, human rights, and (rural) development in Colombia, especially in respect of the government's coca substitution and eradication programmes, which pose numerous challenges for subsistence-level farmers of illicit crops and their families. More importantly, violence linked to the drugs economy and the financing of armed groups have been central to the country's conflict, while the illicit drugs market has also served as a survival economy and safety net. Rethinking the war on drugs is therefore critical to building peace throughout the rural regions of Colombia, which is why TNI continues to expand its advocacy efforts with local stakeholders in different parts of Colombia.