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Environmental Democratisation in Post-War Colombia

Die Demokratisierung der Umweltpolitik im Nachkriegskolumbien
[working paper]

Roa Garcia, Maria Cecilia

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Further Details
Corporate Editor GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies - Leibniz-Institut für Globale und Regionale Studien, Institut für Lateinamerika-Studien
Abstract In 2004 a social movement for environmental democratisation began in Colombia in response to the exponential expansion of extractive activities and socio-environmental conflicts driven by policies designed to transform Colombia into a mining country. The state's reaction to this mobilisation has been ambiguous, as it depends on the rents of extractive frontiers but is also the guarantor of the Constitution and of the rights of its citizens. Colombia is entering a new era in 2016 by signing a peace agreement with the FARC rebel movement. After 50 years of violence and millions of people killed or displaced, this is an opportunity to end today's "longest civil war" worldwide. However, the need to generate revenue to fund the post-war reparation, restitution, and reintegration programmes and, more generally, to fulfil the demands of global markets for minerals, energy, food, and materials puts great pressure on the rural areas where the v iolent conflict has concentrated. The presence of extractive industries in rural areas of peasant economies and ethnic territories has exacerbated previously existing territorial conflicts largely driven by land use. Colombia reports the second-largest number of socio-environmental conflicts in the global Environmental Justice Atlas, and it ranks second in Latin America and third worldwide in the number of assassinations of environmental and land activists. The activation of several democratic-participation mechanisms incorporated into the Colombian Constitution of 1991 for environmental issues demonstrates the aspiration of marginalised groups to participate in the decision-making process regarding territorial planning, the use of resources, and the economic model, which all greatly influence socio-environmental conditions. Policy Implications: Encouraging environmental democratisation is indispensable for achieving environmental justice and a transition to peace in Colombia. The international community could support this process by promoting higher standards, accountability, and participation in environmental decision making; by bolstering the Colombian state in its effort to redesign its revenue system from extractive industries to discourage highly destructive activities; and by promoting the smallscale, sustainable, rural economies that are at the core of the peace agreement.
Keywords Colombia; post-war period; environmental consciousness; social movement; natural resources; shortage; socioeconomic factors; mining; domestic policy; political conflict; political participation; peace treaty; resistance movement; peace process; environmental pollution; environmental behavior; ecological consequences
Classification Ecology, Environment; Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture
Free Keywords Umweltstandard
Document language English
Publication Year 2016
City Hamburg
Page/Pages 13 p.
Series GIGA Focus Lateinamerika, 5
ISSN 1862-3573
Status Published Version; not reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works