Colombia: Mission Mandate Renewal
On Thursday (12 September), the Security Council is expected to adopt a resolution renewing the mandate of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia until 25 September 2020. The draft, which was prepared by the UK, was put under silence over the weekend (7-8 September). Silence was broken, but after a revision to the text and a second silence procedure, it is now in blue. The draft does not include any changes to the mission’s mandate.
President Iván Duque formally requested the extension of the UN Verification Mission’s mandate for another year, as agreed by the government and the Fuerza Alternativa Revolucionaria del Común political party, during a visiting mission of Council members to Colombia on 11-14 July. The Fuerza Alternativa Revolucionaria del Común is the political party successor to the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia-Ejército del Pueblo (FARC-EP), whose integration into the political system was an aspect of the 2016 peace agreement between the government and the FARC-EP.
The mission is expected to continue carrying out its mandate of verifying the implementation of sections 3.2 and 3.4 of the Final Agreement for Ending the Conflict and Building a Stable and Lasting Peace, as called for in section 6.3.3 of the Agreement. Sections 3.2 and 3.4 focus on political, economic and social reincorporation of the FARC-EP; personal and collective security guarantees; and comprehensive programmes of security and protection measures for communities and organisations in conflict-affected areas.
The draft in blue expresses the Council’s willingness to work with the government to extend the mandate of the mission further on the basis of agreement between the parties. According to the Final Agreement, the mission, which started operating in September 2017, was originally to have a duration of three years but could be extended if necessary.
Negotiations were smooth overall. The only issue that required compromise, including after one Council member broke silence, was related to how to refer to outstanding challenges and concerns in the implementation of the November 2016 peace agreeement, some of which were brought to the Council’s attention during its recent visit. In the end, the draft urges the parties to work together to sustain progress and address challenges through comprehensive implementation of the agreement. Despite the Council’s unity on Colombia, negotiations of recent press statements have reflected differences in tone, with Council members striving to find balance in acknowledging both achievements and outstanding challenges.
For more background on the situation in Colombia, including the recent decision by former FARC-EP leaders to take up arms again, please see our September Forecast.