On October 12, the United States Agency on International Development (USAID) held its 14th annual consultation with U.S. civil society in Washington, D.C. The consultation process allows for dialogue to take place between U.S. civil society organizations that monitor U.S. assistance in Colombia such as the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) and USAID on their programming in Colombia.
This year’s consultation included discussion on how best to guarantee effective implementation of the peace accords and protection for social leaders. While not formally part of the agenda, participants also discussed how the Venezuelan migrant crisis that is disproportionately flowing into Colombia is affecting peace implementation.
Prior to each of the USAID annual consultations WOLA reaches out to a broad, diverse set of actors within Colombia, both those who receive USAID funding and those who do not, to develop analyses and recommendations on its Colombia programming. The information captured is found in the letter that is presented to the USAID Colombia mission. Among the recommendations WOLA makes to USAID is that it must prioritize working to guarantee effective implementation of the peace accord, strengthen efforts that address the security crisis facing social leaders (prevention, protection and justice) and improve its programming regarding justice measures. In the letter, it is noted that USAID’s work on Afro-Colombian and indigenous issues is bearing fruit and that its direct funding of civil society is a step in the right direction. Other items raised include concerns about a return to ineffective drug policy efforts such as aerial fumigation of coca crops, how USAID’s peace implementation programming is hampered by the terrorism restriction and shifting emphasis on the Venezuelan migrant crisis at the detriment of peace implementation.