View of the city of Cartagena on the Colombian Caribbean coast

Colombia Hope for lasting peace and a just social-ecological transformation

In 2016, a peace agreement was concluded with Colombia's largest guerrilla group, FARC-EP. The current government is now trying to achieve peace with the remaining armed groups as well, because the security situation in some parts of the country is still precarious, notwithstanding the fact that the conflict with FARC has ended. In the past, the fighting between government security forces, left-wing guerrilla groups and right-wing paramilitary groups had left hundreds of thousands dead.

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Government building in Colombia's capital Bogotá
Development Minister Svenja Schulze and Roberto Jaguaribe, Brazilian ambassador and spokesperson for the Latin American countries in Berlin, at the presentation of the new BMZ strategy for cooperation with the countries in Latin America and the Caribbean

Implementing the peace agreement and ending the conflict with remaining armed groups (the ELN guerrilla, drug cartels, FARC dissidents) is now the focus of domestic policymaking in Colombia, as part of the current government's “paz total” (comprehensive peace) policy. This is presenting the government with major challenges. The hope is that it will be possible to build lasting political and social peace in Colombia, overcome the division of society in a non-violent way, and appropriately address the crimes of the past.

Peace is still fragile, and so is the security situation in some regions. One cause for concern is the growing violence against social leaders and against people who are working for human rights, social concerns and the protection of the environment.

One of the major challenges that the country is facing is the large number of refugees and internally displaced persons in Colombia. According to 2024 data from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the number of people who have been internally displaced by violence is 6.9 million, and in addition there are now about three million refugees from neighbouring Venezuela, who are likely to remain in Colombia permanently.

In addition to comprehensive peace, the priorities set by Colombia's first left-wing government under President Gustavo Petro include a social-ecological transformation of the economy and the decarbonisation of the country's energy supply. Moreover, a special focus is being put on development for Colombia's rural regions, which have so far often been marginalised, and for disadvantaged groups (women, children, Afro-Colombians, Indigenous people and others). Domestically, President Petro is facing strong opposition from conservative political players, who feel that his reform policies go too far.

International cooperation

Colombia is playing a constructive role in important global development processes such as the 2030 Agenda and the United Nations climate negotiations. In response to the country's reform efforts, it was declared a “global partner” of NATO in May 2018, and in 2020 it was admitted to the OECD as a new member.

Relations with Germany

Germany and Colombia have close political, economic and cultural relations. Germany has actively followed and supported the national peace process from the beginning, and Germany is Colombia's largest trading partner within the EU.

German development cooperation with Colombia

In support of the historic peace process after more than 50 years of civil war, and also in view of Colombia's important role for global climate action and environmental protection, the German government has continuously expanded its cooperation with Colombia since 2010.

The two countries' close cooperation focuses on support for the peace process and for climate action and environmental protection.

On 16 June 2023, the German ministries for development, foreign affairs, economic affairs and the environment entered into a Climate and Just Energy Transition Partnership with Colombia. This is intended to intensify cooperation on renewable energy, sustainable urban development, environmental protection and biodiversity, so that Colombia will be able to deliver on its Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement.

Bilateral cooperation focuses on the following core areas:

  • Peaceful and inclusive societies | Areas of intervention: peacebuilding and migration
  • Climate and energy, just transition | Areas of intervention: renewable energy and sustainable urban development
  • Conserving nature and natural resources, protecting life on Earth | Areas of intervention: forests and biodiversity
Cielo Gomez, a coffee farmer from El Tablón de Gómez, in the south-east of the Nariño territory in Colombia. Her family has regained land that was illegally occupied as part of the peace process. Through a UN Women project, she has managed to get part of the land registered in her name. Together with other women coffee farmers in the region, she can now build a more economically stable future.

Core area “Peaceful and inclusive societies” Filling the peace deal with life Internal link

Colombian-German cooperation focuses on peacebuilding and conflict prevention. Germany has been supporting the peace process in Colombia since 2008. The 2016 peace agreement explicitly mentions Germany and requests the country to be one of several supporting countries to provide assistance in the field of transitional justice and reconciliation.

Wind turbine in the La Guajira desert in northern Colombia

Core area “Climate and energy, just transition” Achieving ambitious goals Internal link

Colombia is an important partner for Germany in the field of climate and energy policy. Under the Paris Agreement, Colombia substantially revised its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) at the end of 2020, adopting very ambitious new targets. It increased its greenhouse gas emission reduction target for 2030 from 20 per cent to 51 per cent.

A squirrel monkey in Colombia climbs over the stem of a large leafy plant

Core area “Conserving nature and natural resources, protecting life on Earth” Conserving biodiversity and forests Internal link

Colombia is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. More than half of its area is covered by forests. Some 30 per cent of the land has been made into protected areas. The country therefore has an important role for global climate change mitigation. Germany's cooperation with Colombia is geared towards conserving the country's forests and biodiversity.

Current situation

As at: 25/06/2024