UN chiefs highlight "political determination and society’s will" to end the conflict in Colombia

Apr 14, 2015

COLOMBIA HAS SIX MILLION INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS, THE SECOND LARGEST IN THE WOLRD AFTER SYRIA. PHOTO: FEDERICO RIOS / UNDP COLOMBIA

Nariño, April 14 - UN Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman and UN Assistant Secretary General and UN Development Programme (UNDP) Director for Latin America and the Caribbean Jessica Faieta visited the town of Tumaco, in the Pacific, to better understand the authorities’ and civil society’s perspectives, in one of the most conflict-affected regions.

During the visit, the UN delegates expressed concern over the high levels of violence, the presence of armed groups in the region and how this affects the local population.

In Colombia, the current peace talks hold out the hope of ending armed conflict and reducing criminal violence, which has led to human and economic losses, and has forced millions of families to leave their homes. The country now has the world's second largest number of displaced people after Syria: six million.

Jeffrey Feltman acknowledged that, in spite of the difficulties inherent to such complex contexts, he has witnessed not only a political determination at the highest levels, but also the will and a "great energy" shared by civil society to end the conflict.

Jessica Faieta stressed the importance to support local development, particularly in this context, and emphasized the importance of different UN agencies complementing each other on the ground, and the primary role of the population in building peace and leadership in their own communities’ development process.

The visit to Tumaco allowed the UN delegation to learn more about the history and the lives of those affected.

The House of Memory in Tumaco reminds us of the terrible loss of life in the armed conflict in Colombia," wrote UNDP’s Regional Director on her Twitter account, moved by what he saw and heard while visiting a special center in memory of the victims. In addition, the House of Memory provides support to conflict-affected families, including through psychological and legal support services.

Faieta and Feltman listened to the concerns of vulnerable communities living in the urban settlement "Families in Action", located in a neighborhood where UNDP and the UN refugees agency (UNHCR) implement the “Sustainable Solutions Initiative, benefitting 196 families (905 people), of which 95 percent are of African descent.

The project seeks to include the needs of the community in the development agenda and promote sustainable interventions for internally displaced women and men, as well as short-term recovery and sustainable development activities. In Tumaco, the initiative has worked to ensure housing, land, property, education, economic development and institutional capacity for affected communities.

Contact Information

Carolina Azevedo - Communication Specialist Latin America and the Caribbean Tel: +1 212 906 6127 carolina.azevedo@undp.org

Elizabeth Yarce - UNDP Colombia Communications Officer Tel (57) 3006540690 elizabeth.yarce@undp.org

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