Guest Commentary by Provash Budden, Mercy Corps’ Colombia Country Director.
This week, Mercy Corps Colombia and Guatemala are hosting the 14th regional exchange between government institutions of Guatemala and Colombia. This exchange aims to share knowledge to improve public policies and public and private institutional responses aimed at the rural sector in both countries and the opportunity to share best practices that address the processes of individual and collective certification of public and private property. Mercy Corps is also facilitating the exchange of ideas about the challenges to achieve lasting peace by addressing the structural problems of the rural sector, land use and the victims and minority ethnic groups affected by armed conflict.
Throughout the week you can follow the conversations and activities of this exchange in Bogota and also in Tolima where participants will travel to learn more about Mercy Corps’ work with coffee farmers who are formalizing property, improving coffee production and protecting natural resources. Blogs, pictures, video and activities will be posted on Mercy Corps’ Red Tierra web site. This site is managed in Spanish but comments in English are welcome.
Participating in the exchange are 10 officials from Guatemala who include the Director of the Land Fund, the Director of the RIC, six managers of these two institutions, two Senators of the Republic of Guatemala who are involved in the commission of land and two officials from Mercy Corps Guatemala. These officials will meet with high-level delegates of the Colombian State including the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Director of INCODER, the Director of IGAC, the Managers of the Land Restitution Unit and other entities responsible for Rural Development, Collective Territory Titling and Rural Property Formalization.
Mercy Corps has been working on property rights, conflict resolution and natural resource management for over 10 years in Colombia and Guatemala with support from USAID and continues to support South-South exchanges to connect public policies and practical actions that address land issues in Latin America.