|Amount in $M|
Long-term development assistance
Colombia is one of the oldest democracies in Latin America with a diversified economy, solid functioning institutions, progressive laws, an active civil society, and abundant natural resources. However, a decades-long conflict fuelled by the illicit drug trade continues to hinder Colombia's development and impedes attempts to tackle poverty and inequality. Conflict and ongoing violence prevents the expansion of social programs in certain areas.
Colombia has a relatively well-performing economy and is well equipped to deal with the economic crisis, due to sound macroeconomic fundamentals, adequate fiscal reserves, and a credible stimulus plan. Nevertheless, despite economic growth, income inequality persists, and 7.4 million individuals (16 percent of the population) live on less than US$1.25/day. One of the key challenges for the Colombian government, also a result of the conflict, is that the country has the world's second largest population of internally displaced persons (almost to four million).
Children and youth, representing 57 percent of the poor and 42 percent of Colombia's total population, are particularly vulnerable to inequality, poverty, and conflict. Their situation is exacerbated by their exposure to landmines, internal displacement, and their susceptibility to becoming targets for sexual exploitation and recruitment by illegal groups. Across the country, 16 percent of children between the ages of 5 and 17 (almost two million), most of them in rural areas, fall outside the education system, most of them in rural areas.
The overall goal of Canada's program in Colombia is to improve human rights and reduce the inequality and poverty of the most vulnerable, with a specific focus on children and youth. By focusing on children and youth, Canada will help break the cycles of violence that have plagued Colombia and will prepare future generations to better integrate into licit economic activity. In addition, Canada's work on economic development will ensure that youth and campesinos, or farm workers, have sustainable productive options to illegal activities.
The Government of Colombia has identified its development priorities in its national development plan (in Spanish). Canada's program in Colombia supports the objectives of the Government of Colombia to achieve its development goals.
Canada continues to support the rights of the most vulnerable groups in Colombia, with a special focus on children and youth to promote and protect their rights, increase their access to early childhood education, and help prevent their exposure and involvement in violence, illicit activities and illegal groups.
Canada continues to support the participation of the most vulnerable groups in Colombia's economic development through the delivery of market-driven skills-for-employment programs and by supporting effective corporate social responsibility in the private sector and providing trade-related technical assistance. Canada also supports crop diversification as an alternative to coca production in rural areas and provides support to increase agricultural production, productivity and access to markets.
Colombia adheres to the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (PDF, 317 KB, 23 pages). Its international cooperation strategy for 2007-2010 (in Spanish), which guides Colombia's international development cooperation, is coordinated through the Presidential Program for Social Action (Accion Social).
Canada actively takes part in the G24, a group of 24 countries and international institutions that have an ongoing and constructive dialogue with the Colombian government and civil society on issues of development, peace, and human rights. Canada has chaired the G24 twice and is presiding over the G-24's Cooperation Sub-Group in 2010.
Note: If you cannot access the documents that are provided in an alternate format, refer to the Help page.