As Colombia emerges from the longest armed conflict in the history of the Americas, indigenous and Afro-descendant communities work with the Government to resolve their long-standing claims to land and resources
Colombia and combatants signed the Havana Peace Accord in 2016. The Accord recognizes that the longest armed conflict in the Americas was driven in great part by unjust and uncertain ownership of land and resources. It provides provisions for resolving longstanding grievances over land tenure and resource rights for rural populations, including Indigenous and Afro-Colombian Peoples.
The 1.5 million Indigenous People in Colombia make up 3.4% of the total population. The Afro-descendent population is larger, encompassing more than 10 million people, almost a quarter of Colombia’s population. Indigenous and Afro-descendant people, women in particular, experienced disproportionate levels of violence, displacement, and landlessness during the conflict. They also faced and continue to experience serious environmental threats and land grabbing from extractive industries.
Implementation of the Accord affords an opportunity for Indigenous and Afro-descendent communities to protect their communities and guarantee their territorial rights. With support from the Tenure Facility, civil society organizations, government agencies, and a university are working in partnership to rapidly scale-up formal recognition of the collective territorial rights of Afro-descendant Community Councils across Colombia. Led by the Black Communities’ Process (PCN), the partners include the National Land Agency (ANT), General Attorney Delegate for Agrarian Issues and Land Restitution, and the Observatory for Ethnic and Peasant Territories (OTEC) at the Pontifical Javeriana University.
In two years, the partners aim to advance tenure security for almost 1.5 million people over 2 million hectares. Securing legal tenure for these lands will enable Afro-descendent people to improve livelihoods, stop deforestation and conserve Colombia’s biodiversity, and reduce community vulnerability to climate change and contribute to its mitigation.