BOGOTA – More than 1,000 former members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla group will be taking part in a United Nations-backed environmental sustainability program that was presented on Friday.
A total of 3,800 people are expected to take part in the program, 30 percent of whom will be former FARC members and the remaining 70 percent members of rural communities in three areas where the ex-combatants have gathered ahead of their reincorporation into civil society.
The program, which has a $3.5 million budget, is being financed by the Norwegian government and will be implemented by the Environment Ministry, the Norwegian Council on Refugees, the UN Development Program (UNDP) and the FARC.
“This is the moment of truth,” UNDP Colombia Director Pablo Ruiz said, referring to the FARC’s transition to civilian life after signing a peace agreement with the government last November and handing over their weapons to a UN mission in 2017.
The former combatants are currently in 26 territorial spaces for training and reincorporation that are located in remote areas of Colombia.
The program will take place in three of those areas: Miravalle, in the southern municipality of San Vicente del Caguan; Buenavista, in the central municipality of Mesetas; and Playa Rica, in the central municipality of La Macarena.
Its components include construction of a shared environmental vision for those territories with a view to identifying possible environmental initiatives; technical and complementary training; financial and technical support for the identified initiatives; and training in environmental conflict resolution, according to the Environment Ministry’s Web site.
In that regard, Ruiz said the program was aimed at achieving two main objectives – reincorporating former FARC combatants into society and combating the country’s severe deforestation problem.
The program is initially scheduled to last for 18 months.