The UN deputy chief has underscored the importance of the full and comprehensive implementation of Colombia’s historic 2016 peace agreement, to enable sustainable and resilient communities in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
At the end of a two-day virtual visit to the Latin American country, Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed also highlighted the need to ensure a focus on rural areas hit hard by both violence and COVID-19.
“It is essential to create renewed development opportunities, improve security and emphasize the presence of the State in a country that suffered from conflict and is now suffering from the effects of the pandemic,” Ms. Mohammed said at a virtual press conference at the end of the visit.
“This is the time to think about measures to rebuild better, to leave no one behind and to achieve sustainable peace.”
In this enormous task, the role of women is vital, she added, noting that four years after the signing of the peace agreement, women continue to be the driving force behind its implementation.
The deputy UN chief also paid a virtual visit to Vista Hermosa (literal translation: beautiful view), a region in south-east Colombia that was badly affected during the conflict.
“We had the opportunity to visit Vista Hermosa to meet with young women peacebuilders, deeply affected by armed conflict and committed to find peace and dignity for their communities,” said Ms. Mohammed.
“The UN stands with you in solidarity toward implementation – which we recognize is not without challenges – to support the growing momentum for economic and social reintegration for all.”
Ms. Mohammed also met with women human rights defenders and women leaders, and discussed the progress and challenges in implementing the peace agreement. She was inspired by the courage and resilience of by women’s organizations and women leaders who continue to be a driving force for peacebuilding amid insecurities.
Gender equality in COVID-19 recovery
The Deputy Secretary-General held a meeting, via videoconference, with President Iván Duque where they discussed the socio-economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the country, protecting the most vulnerable, and promoting inclusive, green and sustainable recovery.
Ms. Mohammed commended Colombia’s commitment to promoting gender equality, and its efforts to ensure women are at the heart of the COVID-19 recovery and in implementing the peace agreement.
The virtual visit also showcased the work of the United Nations in Colombia, as well as its collaboration with national and local authorities and civil society organizations – including in the response to the pandemic, development challenges and peace consolidation.
First virtual visit since COVID-19 outbreak
The virtual trip on 28 and 29 October was the first such visit since the outbreak of the pandemic.
The Deputy Secretary-General was accompanied by Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN-Women; Rosemary DiCarlo Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs; and Pramila Patten, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict.
The last time the Ms. Mohammed visited Colombia in person was in 2015 for the launch of the Inter-Institutional Commission for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).