Villavicencio, Meta, September 11, 2015. Peace will bring with it innumerable benefits and responsibilities for the Orinoquia region.
At Expogestión 2015, CEO director, Carlos Montenegro, affirmed that the region’s newfound safety will increase the value of land and foreign investment. Some of its responsibilities, on the other hand, will include the generation of employment for the ex-combatants, providing them with a means for survival and recuperation.
Montenegro exposed three important messages on the Orinoquia as a fundamental part of development, peace and reconciliation. In the first, he reflected on the implications of peace on the region’s development. In the second message, he established the region’s role in the peace process, and finally, he pointed out that with or without peace agreements, there are challenges that must be dealt with urgently.
He added that a country at peace would allow the government to establish new and ambitious plans to exploit the region’s potential in a responsible and sustainable manner: the strengthening of rural areas, awareness raising that will led to the creation of a new social environment, and the inclusion of new economic resources.
In terms of the environment, the CEO director said, “so another big responsibility for the actors of development in the Orinoquia is that their efforts to solve the economic and social deficiencies will also have to mitigate the damage caused and to safeguard that which has not yet been touched.”
On the other hand, he spoke about the Orinoquia as a scenario for peace, focusing attention on three specific points. The first, in the policy for integrated agrarian development, the agenda establishes the creation of a land bank in order to provide land for peasant farmers without. He pointed out that the region had a great proportion of land abandoned by the armed groups and drug traffickers, saying that these has to be assigned to the peasant farmers through a formal titling process.
In the same way, the initiative of a national sectorial plan has to be aimed at providing public goods and services in infrastructure, social development (health, education, housing and drinking water for the countryside), and encouragement for the productivity of family agriculture and formal work. These plans would directly attack the great challenges in terms of human development and turn the Orinoquia into a key point for the implementation of agreements, and specifically, for peacebuilding.
In this vein, he highlighted that the political participation of the regions hit by the conflict will be fundamental for the Orinoquia, given that this will make the region more visible; it will challenge the demands and problems that have as yet not been solved by the state and improve the region’s lack of political representation.
He also talked about one of the most complicated issues that the region will face, namely forgiveness and reconciliation by the victims of the conflict. According to the figures, there are 22 fronts distributed among the departments of Arauca, Casanare, Guainía, Guaviare, Meta, and Vaupés, and over half a million victims, these figures point to the magnitude of what the Orinoquia will have to deal with once the peace agreement is signed and establishes how the region can contribute to the so-called “end of conflict.”
He insisted that the great challenges for the Orinoquia are related to land, infrastructure, land planning, illegal mining, and the preservation of the cultural and ethnic diversity of the Indigenous communities. He also affirmed that for responsible development, the region would have to seek clear knowledge of the territories, implement research on the environment and self-sustainable agriculture, and seek to preserve the Llanera culture.
He concluded his intervention by raising awareness about climate change, focusing on agricultural attitudes and carbon capture, pointing out that work will be undertaken in alliance with the World Bank on initiatives to deal with this scenario.