Colombia: urban futures in conflict zones

The 2014-15 peace negotiations in Havana between the Colombian government and the FARC guerrilla movement are expected to end the long conflict between these two armed actors. The accords reached thus far reiterate a commitment to human rights and development in neglected rural areas, but do not prioritise the dire situation faced by regional medium-sized cities in conflict zones. Millions of victims have sought refuge in these cities and are likely to remain there. This report argues that achieving urban integration, strengthening institutions and increasing productivity in urban settings are fundamental to peace.

All cities have suffered in multiple ways from the massive influx of internally displaced persons (IDPs). Medium-sized cities are growing faster than the largest cities, having received the highest percentage of conflict victims in relation to their pre-existing local populations. Today they are largely unable to integrate IDPs living in their jurisdictions either administratively or economically. New infrastructure, stronger institutions and extended public services are badly needed. Taking two Colombian cities as illustrations, the report examines efforts to improve the well-being of IDPs and other victims, focusing on the urban resources and regional development that will be needed in post-conflict Colombia.

Read the Spanish version here