Conflict and violence have displaced more than seven million people in Colombia, many of whom are living in protracted displacement. The Government’s Victims’ Unit, which was set up under the 2011 Victim’s and Reparations Law 1448, aims to provide the country’s IDPs and other victims of conflict with assistance and reparation to support their pursuit of durable solutions. This work has become all the more pertinent since the signing of a peace agreement with the country’s largest guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in 2016.
The Colombian Government more broadly and the UN system in the country are also working toward improving the national framework for durable solutions. To that end, work continues to refine existing tools and methodologies and develop new ones to establish a solid and agreed-upon evidence base to inform these efforts. JIPS collaborated on three subsequent exercises so far:
Reviewing and harmonising the methodologies and tools with Colombia’s Victims’ Unit (2015 & 2017)
The Victims’ Unit approached JIPS in 2015 for support in:
This collaboration led to a further request for support at the end of 2016, this time to carry out a comparative analysis between IDPs and host populations to feed into initiatives for durable solutions, developing ways of measuring progress in line with the IASC Framework on Durable Solutions for IDPs and defining ways to best support the reparations system.
Against the background of our longstanding partnership, we asked Ramón Rodríguez, Director of the Victims’ Unit of the Government of Colombia, to briefly explain their data related efforts and how JIPS’ support has been useful in this context:
We worked closely with various departments of the Victims’ Unit during our October 2015 mission – including social and humanitarian affairs, registry, reparations, indigenous peoples, differential approach – and a range of Government, UN, NGO and other civil society stakeholders to gain a broader understanding of the task in hand.
Different perspectives were taken into consideration to establish the technical and operational challenges involved, and following our mission a JIPS consultant continued to work in-country until December, allowing us to develop detailed recommendations. We shared our report, available in English and Spanish, with the Victims’ Unit in June 2016.
During our two-week mission in March 2017, we again worked with the Victims’ Unit as well as the National Planning Department and the Department for Social Prosperity, in four main areas of support:
Our support helped to capitalise on existing tools and methodologies and develop new approaches to establish an evidence base to inform durable solutions initiatives as part of a broader push by Colombian institutions and their international partners.
Oscar Rico Valencia of the Victims’ Unit said: “JIPS has supported us to understand ways to measure durable solutions, as well as with work on targeting and vulnerability analysis, which has been really valuable.”
Agreement on a work plan to lay out the way forward was also reached. The Victims’ Unit is currently carrying out an analysis of IDPs’ socioeconomic vulnerabilities linked to their displacement to determine whether they need complementary state support. The unit, National Planning Department, Department for Social Prosperity and international partners including UNHCR and UNDP have also developed pilot initiatives to identify other factors that contribute to durable solutions, particularly at the community level.
A technical working group was established, made up of representatives from various Victims’ Unit departments, other government institutions and UN agencies, to serve as a sounding board for discussion and analysis. It will also help to ensure a collaborative approach to the huge task in hand, and to align Government initiatives and the work of its international partners on durable solutions.
Monitoring transitional solutions for IDPs (2013 – 2014)
Building on our recommendations from a scoping mission in October 2012, we received a request from UNHCR and UNDP to use our profiling expertise to support the development and introduction of a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system for the Transitional Solutions Initiative (TSI).
A global project led by the two UN agencies, TSI applied a participatory methodology to shaping and implementing roadmaps for the achievement of solutions for displaced communities. It also aimed to collate good practice to feed into national approaches to such solutions. At the time our support was requested, TSI was working with 17 communities around Colombia, including return, local integration and resettlement settings.
We provided guidance for the development and agreement of indicators and data collection methodologies to determine a baseline and assess progress towards solutions for integration into TSI’s M&E system. We also helped to agree an implementation plan for the system that included a harmonised profiling exercise that served as a mid-term impact evaluation of the project.
The process was supported both in the field and remotely, facilitating a number of technical workshops, conducting a review of information sources and visiting several TSI locations during our mission to Colombia.
Our support contributed to the agreement of a set of indicators, aligned with the IASC Framework on Durable Solutions for IDPs, which forms the central framework both for TSI and national return, local integration and resettlement plans for IDPs.
The final report also outlined a series of challenges, recommendations and opportunities to consider in the further development of the M&E system.
Scoping mission on durable solutions for IDPs in Colombia (2012)
Our involvement in Colombia began in 2012 with a scoping mission to better understand the practices and challenges involved in collecting data to inform efforts to prevent and respond to internal displacement in the country.
During the trip, we met with various government bodies, UN agencies and NGOs.
In discussions with various Government bodies, UN agencies and NGOs we looked at the challenges associated with the new Victim’s and Reparations Law 1448 and monitoring progress toward durable solutions. In particular, discussions focused on:
Our team also visited a range of sites, including urban and rural locations where IDPs are hoping to integrate – or reintegrate – into society nearBogotá, Villavicencio, Medellín and Quibdó.
Based on the information we gathered during the mission, we produced a series of observations and recommendations for stakeholders to consider, particularly in terms of:
This scoping mission marked the beginning of our support to partners in Colombia, as the input led to a further request for our support in 2013.