Several days away from the FARC´s deadline to lay down their arms, which was part of the peace agreement the group signed with the Government of Colombia, and the country still faces many challenges to end the conflict.
This situation has led experts in different areas and institutions throughout the country to make proposals that endeavor to improve the possibilities of achieving stability and foster a favorable environment for disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration as well as territorial security and political participation while the agreements reached in Habana in 2016 are being implemented and fulfilled.
The initiatives were a result of the Data4Peace workshop, which was held in Los Andes on 12th May. It brought together local, regional, and national authorities as well as national and international academics.
The hackathon model was used to gather new ideas: it is a collaborative process in which experts in computer science, graphic designers, software developers, and experts in specific areas such as peace in Colombia participate in order to achieve their final objective, which is to contribute ideas and find a solution to a problem.
Some of the public policy recommendations presented were directly related to providing more economic opportunities to the ex-combatants in order to reduce their participation in criminal activities, seeking help from outside the centralized State, the design and implementation of effective policies to resolve local conflicts, and the allocation of resources for mental health services.
Creating jobs for demobilized guerillas was also suggested, as was increasing the security for regional leaders to avoid outbreaks of violence in at-risk areas and avoiding the persecution of left-wing militants. Also, it was advised at the end of Data4Peace that plans should be developed to integrate the FARC into electoral politics in order to democratize politics by new actors entering on to the country´s political landscape.
Educational entities such as the Universidad de los Andes, specifically the Master´s in Peace Building, the University of Texas, and the USAID Agency for International Development were part of the process along with the pollster Cifras y Conceptos.
Academics from the following universities also worked together with those actors mentioned above: American University, Princeton University, the University of Denver, the Universidad del Rosario, and the Universidad Externado. Local, regional, national, and international authorities also collaborated.
The workshop brought together a group of academics and political actors who analyzed quantitative data and, finally, made recommendations to those who will be responsible for implementing the agreement over the coming years.