Forum calls for post conflict urban agenda for Colombian cities
Bogota 7 August 2015— UN-Habitat in conjunction with its partners, the National Savings Fund (FNA) and Portfolio recently hosted a forum in Bogota during which the participants agreed for a post conflict urban agenda for Colombian cities.
The Government of Colombia and the rebel Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, better known with its Spanish acronym FARC, are in peace talks in Havana, Cuba seeking to end the hostilities which began in 1964.
Speakers at the first “Cities and Post-Conflict” forum said that both rural areas and cities should prepare for the post-conflict era adding that such preparation was more urgent especially for cities considering that 76 percent of Colombians live in urban areas. According to UN-Habitat´s projections, the figure is expected to exceed 80 percent by 2050.
The forum was attended by representatives from the Ministries of Interior as well as Housing, mayors, experts and international donors.
“From now on, this should be a central policy. The post-conflict agenda must be put together, not only for the sake of the signing of the agreements, but, as a priority, for the social transformation of the country”, said Sandra Devia, director of Government and Territorial Management of the Ministry of Interior.
Mr. Devia said that land use plans (LUP) are essential instrument for each municipality, be it a small, medium or large city. “Decentralization doesn’t mean that the government will give money. It means good governance by mayors to build their city. Each of them should have a post-conflict plan,” he added.
According to those who addressed the fourm, cities must be forward looking and should include metropolitan areas in their plans, to include municipalities with whom they interact in their economic and social dynamics.
“They must have planning instruments to capitalize the peace dividend, but 75 percent of the cities have an outdated LUP and 80 percent are of insufficient quality,” said Augusto Posada, president of the FNA.
There was also a consensus that the achievement of peace would bear dividends. Elkin Velasquez, the director of UN-Habitat’s Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean clarified that each country and city have different plans and experiences, but that there are points of contact.
“The immediate effect we can see is the growth of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and a reduction in inequality, but every city has to work for this on its own,” he said.