Stef Blok, minister of foreign affairs of The Netherlands accompanied the launch of ICCO Cooperation’s “Rural Peace” project. The new project aims at strengthening the peace process and contribute to the reconstruction of the most affected territories by the armed conflict in Colombia.
The project “Rural Peace-Territories and Construction of Peace” was launched last Friday, April 6th, with the presence of the minister of foreign affairs of the Netherlands, Stef Blok, together with ICCO’s global director Wim Hart, ICCO’s regional director for Latin America Conny Toornstra, the ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Colombia Jeroen Roodenburg, the Ambassador of the European Union for Colombia, Patricia Llombart, and members of the national government and cooperation agencies.
Photo: Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stef Blok, ICCO's regional manager for Latin America, Conny Toornstra and participants of ICCO's project Manq'a at the launch of 'Rural Peace'.
Towards Rural Peace
Minister Blok highlighted that “the Netherlands and the European Union are committed to contribute to the peace in Colombia”. He remarked the experience of ICCO throughout the world and its business vision as an added value when it comes to turning challenges into opportunities for communities. Finally, he said that, despite the difficulties that are faced by the peace process in the territories, “Colombians can build a better country and, in the future, some novelist can write about a Colombia in peace”.
Wim Hart, director of ICCO, underlined the commitment that ICCO have had for more than 30 years with the construction of peace in the country and he also hoped that at the end of the project`s 30 months 'Rural Peace' is not only a name, but a result that has changed the lives of the inhabitants of Nariño and Putumayo.
Representatives of the peasant communities also participated in the event. They shared the complex realities that the war has left in their regions: violence, scarce road infrastructure, exclusion, displacement, low income, but also hope that is strengthened and revived with proposals such as 'Rural Peace'.
Photo: The ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Colombia, Jeroen Roodenburg, is welcomed by ICCO's regional manager for Latin America, Conny Toornstra.
About the project
The armed conflict in Colombia has had direct and disproportionate impact on the rural sector, which, furthermore, has been affected for decades by an unequitative economic and political model of development. This is the context in which the project is created, which, lead by ICCO, will be executed together with 6 other local organizations in a period of 3 years.
With funding of 4.5 millions euros, ‘Rural Peace’ has the objective of strengthening the local economies, the participation in the decisions of their territory and the culture of peace in afro, indigenous and peasant communities of 16 municipalities in Nariño and Putumayo. The project will directly benefit 2,500 people, 12 producer organizations and 12 businesses in the agricultural and food sector.
Investment Fund for Agribusiness
The project also has an investment fund for the acceleration of agribusinesses that will be managed by TRUVALU, ICCO’s partner, which will seek to attract private investment towards the territory and dynamize the identified value chains.
‘Rural Peace’ is an initiative of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and ICCO Cooperation, with the support of the European Union’s Trust Fund for Colombia.