Advancing Women Entrepreneurs in the Economic Reactivation of Post-Conflict Colombia

  • 2022/03/08     Dresden, Germany

    Image: UNU-FLORES

    On International Women’s Day, we explore the role of women in promoting sustainable agriculture in post-conflict regions.

    By Serena Caucci and Zeynep Ozkul

    Decades of armed conflict have shaped Colombia’s culture, politics, and natural environment. Among others, it has led to the low participation of local women in decision-making processes. Home-grown peacebuilding solutions and community ownership are key for promoting resilience in conflict regions.

    Resource Nexus for Environmental Peacebuilding in Colombia

    Natural resource management has vital importance since conflict has impacted regions of Colombia, affecting water security, despite the relatively high level of water resource endowment. The current approach to natural resource management, limited infrastructure development and institutional capacity, and the escalating impacts of climate change undermine efforts to manage water resources appropriately and slow down the steps to build positive peace.

    At the 2nd International Conference on Environmental Peacebuilding, with a focus on land management, climate change, extractives, environmental justice, and the rule of law, UNU-FLORES Associate Programme Officer Dr Serena Caucci and researcher Jairo Alonso Guzman discussed their research on ‘A Multi-Scale Sustainability Analysis in Regions with Different Levels of Violence by an Armed Conflict’.

    Their research explores challenges related to food security, resource efficiency, and land management from a Resource Nexus perspective. The Resource Nexus examines interrelatedness and interdependencies of environmental resources and offers a holistic look at the complex system to support social cohesion and economic growth in the conflict-affected regions of Colombia.

    Role of Women in Sustainable Agriculture

    Acknowledging the role of women as social entrepreneurs who improve the agricultural value chain and as key agents of rural development is a crucial step towards supporting communities to achieve sustainable agriculture and food security and protect biodiversity in a sustainable manner.

    Strengthening women’s participation and economic opportunities is key to harnessing the potential of peacebuilding efforts. UNU-FLORES collaborates with a group of associations in several regions of Colombia including Medio y Bajo Caguan (ASOES), the Association of Coffee Growers in Planadas-Tolima (ASCOFFEEKATIN), and the Agricultural Association of Women of Rio Negro (ASOAMUR) to foster entrepreneurship and expand employment opportunities among women in the local communities.

    The research project is expected to strengthen government engagement and contribute to the development of institutional arrangements in post-conflict regions in Colombia. The interdisciplinary and participatory nature of the Resource Nexus encourages the inclusion of women and local stakeholders into the decision-making process and provides incentives for capacity building to support economic reactivation in post-conflict regions. The project prioritises the participation of women in the transition period and integrates gender-sensitive measures in planning and implementation phases.

    With its aims to advance the science-policy interface and develop knowledge and capacity on integrated resource management, UNU-FLORES seeks to support peacebuilding efforts in Colombia. Since 2013, UNU-FLORES has been collaborating with national partners under multiple projects to promote the safe and productive use of wastewater.

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