Colombia: Resources for humanitarian response and poverty reduction


The majority of Colombia’s 3.6-5.2 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) have been forced from their homes as a result of the complex ongoing conflict between leftist guerrilla groups, right-wing parliamentary groups and the Colombian armed forces. A process for negotiating peace was formally announced in October 2012, when President Santos announced a framework agreement for peace negotiations with the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), the largest and most prominent of Colombia’s guerrilla groups. Negotiation talks between the two sides have since been taking place in Cuba.

Colombia has one of the most comprehensive and sophisticated legal systems in the world for addressing its IDP population, centred on a particular piece of legislation – Law 387 – which recognises IDPs as a special population. Law 387 states that the government is responsible for preventing forced displacement, protecting and assisting persons who are displaced by violence, and searching for durable solutions. The Victims and Land Restitution Bill passed in 2011 also made it incumbent on the Government to compensate victims of the conflict through land restitution or financial compensation.

Despite being a middle-income country, levels of social inequality and poverty are high, with almost 34% of the population living below the national poverty line and 8.2%  living on less than $1.25/day. In 2009, 83% of Colombia’s IDPs were thought to be living in extreme poverty.

This paper analyses the domestic and international response to Colombia’s humanitarian crisis and examines the resources flows to and within the country, including official development assistance (ODA), humanitarian assistance, counter-narcotics funding, security investments, domestic resources, foreign direct investment and remittances.

This report was produced by our Global Humanitarian Assistance programme.