"Strengthening Peace and Development in Frontier Zones”
CONPEACE Mesas de Dialogo
29 November 09:00
Universidad Simon Bolívar, Cúcuta
Thanks to the support of the Government of Canada in November 2018, CONPEACE and the School of Social Work co-hosted a space of dialogue at the Universidad de Simón Bolívar in Cúcuta. The event brought together members of civil society, academics, and members of international organisations like the UNHCR to share concerns and reflect on best practices in the field in relation to the border social and economic dynamics, cross-border cooperation, and security, development and peace in light of the Venezuelan crisis.
The strengthening of non-state armed groups as the ELN, EPL, and the reorganisation of the FARC -that are recruiting Venezuelan migrants has a direct impact on the organised crime in the region and the security landscape of individuals. The efforts to monitor and address the upscaling migration crisis are limited due to lack of cross-border cooperation and articulation, research on the impact and local dynamics to develop a knowledgeable solution including documentation of the coming migrants, and extent of the help to rural areas and not only municipalities. During the mesas, the participants identified fieldwork -both in academia and for organisations- as a good practice for bottom-up solutions and to make visible the existing community lead mechanisms like the recent journeys by the UNHCR throughout La Guajira. This shall follow up empowering long-term initiatives as well as information campaigns to guide the border-dwellers and the local communities for an effective social, economic and cultural integration to avoid further disputes.
This civil society workshop was an insight about the day-today realities in some of Colombia’s most violent communities. The Peace Accords have not brought definitive peace to Colombia’s border departments, and the upscaling migration crisis has embodied additional struggles for the local communities. By identifying both the grounded concerns and best practices decision-makers can more accurately and appropriately design public policies, allocate resources, and prioritise assistance. Referring to the Peace Accords, one member of civil society expressed during the mesas, “Paz should mean tranquility, and we have not had tranquility here for a long time.”