The challenges of supporting 'alternative' economic opportunities for peacebuilding: Perspectives from Colombia

This case study seeks to present some of the experiences of the Colombian government and the international community’s efforts to generate economic opportunities for conflict-affected populations in Colombia, and reflect on lessons for policy and practice elsewhere.

Maintaining and strengthening the livelihoods of conflict-affected populations during and after violent conflict is high on the agenda of governments and development agencies the world over.

Much has been tried and learned in Colombia over the last decade in this regard, including building and maintaining multi-stakeholder partnerships between the private, public, and civil society sectors to address challenges.

The report presents the international cooperation frameworks for economic development and peacebuilding that have been developed for and with the Government of Colombia in recent years. In particular, it documents traditional ‘alternative development’ programmes that have been put in place to reduce the attractiveness of illicit crop cultivation for economically vulnerable populations. The report compares and contrasts these programmes with several alternative approaches, initiated by local actors from conflict-affected regions themselves, and later scaled-up with external funding.