The European Union gave Colombia over $75 million (€55 million Euros) in aid to finance land restitution, peacebuilding, and rural development.
Five cooperation agreements, aimed towards financing the peace agenda in Colombia, were announced Wednesday by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and European Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs.
According to Spanish new agency EFE, nearly $41 million worth of aid has been allocated towards “new territories for peace,” including peacebuilding, income generation, and human rights initiatives in at-need regions.
According to Piebalgs, the aid will provide “shelter for the communities in the departments of Caqueta (south), Guaviare (southwest) and the regions of the Canal del Dique and lower Magdalena, south of Bolivar.”
Another $4.1 million will go to “land restitution and institutional reforms for rural development,” to be channeled through Colombia’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
For government projects to eliminate landmines, the E.U. allocated $8.3 million.
A fourth agreement, aimed at “strengthening institutional care for victims,” designated $10.2 million for the training of public servants to assist victims and witnesses from Colombia’s long-standing conflict.
The final agreement gives $11.87 million to “support the dairy sector in Colombia.” The aid will contribute to the national government’s efforts to improve the competitiveness of the dairy sector by boosting productivity. Dairy is expected to be one of the Colombian sectors hurt most by the U.S.-Colombia FTA, which the U.S. Congress ratified in October.
“Colombia is an important partner for the European Union,” said Peibalgs. “We recognize the progress it has achieved in development and in making the country more stable, and we share its commitment to facing the challenges ahead.”
“Poverty reduction, attention to victims of internal conflict and handing land back to those who it was taken from remain at the core of our common concern and we are determined to do all we can to continue to help to improve the lives of the Colombian people.”