Being different

Material Information

Being different social capital and community capacity building for forest conservation in Caquetá (Colombia), under a post-conflict scenario
Fontecha-Tirado, María Margarita ( author )
Physical Description:
1 online resource (93 pages) : illustrations ;


Subjects / Keywords:
Sustainable Development Practice field practicum report, M.D.P
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent) ( marcgt )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


Being different is a recognition of the knowledge, abilities, and work that communities in two municipalities in Caquetá (Colombia) have done with the help of Fondo Acción. This report aims to advance the thinking about how communities in the region manage their natural resources in a post-conflict scenario. During a long period, Colombia was threatened by the illegal and violent actions of the FARC guerrilla, right-wing paramilitaries, and other criminal groups. After a peace agreement signed in 2016, the government and FARC agreed to stop confrontation and look for alternative options to bring sustainable peace to the country. In the municipalities of Solano and Cartagena del Chairá (Caquetá, Colombia) the agreement changed the set of rules and power balances that the armed conflict had shaped. For the first time, communities had to define what peace means in the territory, and how a new set of institutions would influence the relationship between themselves and the forest. Paisajes Conectados, a program implemented by Fondo Acción, has worked in the region for four years to reduce Amazon deforestation. The program has a Governance and Community Capacity Building Strategy that relies on the idea that communities need to strengthen certain capacities (i.e., leadership, participation) to manage their natural resources sustainably. My Field Practicum intended to evaluate how the training that the communities have received from the program has helped them to strengthen their social capital and community capacity. These two factors were integrated into the field practicum to understand the relationship between the context, the program, and the outcomes that it has achieved. In other words, the report views the communities as a system, and the external and internal conditions affect how the parts interact and produce different results.
After completing the assessment, the Field Practicum revealed that the program has helped the communities to strengthen their bonding or internal social capital, but there is still an opportunity to improve the bridging capital and synergies with outside actors and among the stakeholders. Caquetá communities are strong in leadership and resource mobilization. However, they lack a critical approach regarding opportunities to receive funds and establish relationships with others. Therefore, in managing the forest under a post-conflict scenario, communities need to recognize that assuming a leading and autonomous role is a long-term process and that their lack of experience is due to historical precedents. They need time, experience and knowledge to exercise the power to make decisions about how to manage their natural resources sustainably. It would be counter-productive to ask them to take the leading role without the necessary preparation. Also, the local and national government should listen to the shared-alternative vision of the future that farmers have built to ensure an efficient transition from war to peace.
Includes bibliographical references.
General Note:
The MDP Program is administered jointly by the Center for Latin American Studies and the Center for African Studies.
General Note:
Includes vita.
Statement of Responsibility:
by María Margarita Fontecha-Tirado.

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University of Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
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036257155 ( ALEPH )
LD1780.1 2018 ( lcc )

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University of Florida Institutional Repository


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2 2018 Mara Margarita Fontecha-Tirado


3 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I want to thank God, my family for their support to come to the United States of America and pursue a degree. To Colfuturo for granting me the scholarship to study. Also, I want to thank the Center of Latin American Studies, the Tropical Co nservation & Development program, the Master of Sustainable Development Practice (MDP), my committee members for their support and guidance, Fondo Accin and the communities in Caquet.


4 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .............................................................................................................. 3!LIST OF TABLES .......................................................................................................................... 6!LIST OF FIGURES ........................................................................................................................ 7!ABSTRACT .................................................................................................................................... 9!CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................................. 11!2 OBJECTIVES OF THE FIELD PRACTICUM .................................................................... 14!General Objective .................................................................................................................. 14!Specific Objectives ................................................................................................................ 14!3 CONTEXT ............................................................................................................................. 15!The History of the Conflict .................................................................................................... 15!Peace Process ......................................................................................................................... 22! Geography and Climate ......................................................................................................... 23!Population .............................................................................................................................. 25!Health and Education ............................................................................................................. 25!Agriculture and Economy ...................................................................................................... 26!Environment .......................................................................................................................... 28!Caquet Overview ................................................................................................................. 29!Solano and Cartagena del Chair Overview .......................................................................... 34!The Paisajes Conectados Program: An Alternative for Conservation and Sustainability in Caquet ........................................................................................................................... 35!4 LITERATURE REVIEW ...................................................................................................... 37!Complex Systems .................................................................................................................. 37!Governance and Forest Management .................................................................................... 38!Community Capacity Building .............................................................................................. 42!The Concepts of Bonding and Bridging Social Capital ......................................................... 44!5 CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE FIELD PRACTICUM .................................... 46!6 METHODOLOGY ................................................................................................................ 48!7 ANALYSIS ............................................................................................................................ 52!8 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION ............................................................................................ 56!


5 Diagram 1 .............................................................................................................................. 56!Diagram 2 .............................................................................................................................. 62!Diagram 3 .............................................................................................................................. 70!9 CONCLUSIONS ................................................................................................................... 81!10 RECOMMENDATIONS ....................................................................................................... 83!11 THE BIG PICTURE .............................................................................................................. 84!LIST OF REFERENCES .............................................................................................................. 86!BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ........................................................................................................ 93!


6 LIST OF TABLES Table page 7-1 Nodes from the coding process. Source: NVivo ............................................................... 52!8-1 Communities scores regarding Community Capacity Domains. ..................................... 77!


7 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 3-1 Massacre in Colombia. Fernando Botero, 2000. National Museum of Colombia .......... 18! 3-2 Evolution of the main violent crimes during the conflict per victim number, 1980 2012. Source: Centro Nacional de Memoria Histrica, 2013. From left to right: Massacres, kidnappings, homicides, forced disappearance, forced displacement. ........... 21! 3-3 Land use conflict in Colombia. Source: IGAC, 2008. Land use conflict: Red (Overexploitation) Yellow (Underutilized) Green: Adequate use. ................................... 27! 3-4 Caquets municipalities and police stations. Source: Valencia, 1998. ............................ 29! 3-5 Coca production areas versus FARC presence. Source: Startfor,2014. The areas in red are the ones where coca crops and FARC presence crossed. Caquet, Putumayo, Norte de Santander, and Nario had the presence of both The areas in red are the ones where coca crops and FARC presence crossed. Caquet, Putumayo, Norte de Santander, and Nario had the presence of both. .............................................................. 32! 3-7 Solano and Cartagena del Chair. Source: ARC GIS ....................................................... 34! 4-1 Community Capacity Domains. Source: Gibbon, Labonte and Laverack 2002. .............. 43! 5-1 Conceptual framework. Source: Authors elaboration ..................................................... 46! 8-1 Conventions of the diagrams ............................................................................................ 56! 8-2 Diagram 1 .......................................................................................................................... 57! 8-3 Diagram 2 .......................................................................................................................... 62! 8-4 Emerging Deforestation hotspots in the Colombian Amazon 2001 2015. Source: Monitoring of Andean Amazon Project, 2017. ................................................................. 65! 8-5 Deforestation areas in Caquet. Source: Google Earth. Lighter green is the areas where the forest has lost most of its coverage .................................................................. 66! 8-6 Areas where the project works in Solano and Cartagena del Chair. Source: Google Earth (November 2017) and authors elaboration. The yellow line d epicts the areas where the project works. (A) Solano, (B) Cartagena del Chair ...................................... 67! 8-7 Store in Mononguete, Solano. Photo 1 by: Maria M Fontecha, 2017. ............................. 68! 8-8 Diagram 3 .......................................................................................................................... 70! 8-9. Statements adapted for spider web elaboration. 2017. Photo 2 : Maria M Fontecha, June 2017 .......................................................................................................................... 73!


8 8-10. Spider web representations in Solano and Cartagena del Chair. They depicts the perceptions of the communities regarding Community Capacity Domains. .................... 74! 11-1 Field practicum and it relationship with the SDGs. Source: United Nations and Authors elaboration ......................................................................................................... 85!


9 Abstract of Field Practicum Report Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Sustainable Development Practice BEING DIFFERENT. SOCIAL CAPITAL AND COMMUNITY CAPACITY BUILDING FOR FOREST CONSERVATION IN CAQUET (COLOMBIA), UNDER A POST -CONFLICT SCENARIO By Mara Margarita Fontecha-Tirado May2018 Chair: Philip Williams Cochair: Grenville Barnes and Jonathan Dain Major: Sustainable Development Practice Being different is a recognition of the knowledge, abilities, and work that communities in two municipalities in Caquet (Colombia) have done with t he help of Fondo Accin. This report aims to advance the thinking about how communities in the region manage their natural resources in a post-conflict scenario. During a long period, Colombia was threatened by the illegal and violent actions of the FARC guerrilla, right-wing paramilitaries, and other criminal groups After a peace agreement signed in 2016, the government and FARC agreed to stop confrontation and look for alternative options to bring sustainable peace to the country. In the municipalities of Solano and Cartagena del Chair (Caquet, Colombia) the agreement changed the set of rules and power balances that the armed conflict had shaped. For the first time, communities had to define what peace means in the territory, and how a new set of institutions would influence the relationship between themselves and the forest. Paisajes Conectados, a program implemented by Fondo Accin, has worked in the region for four years to reduce Amazon deforestation. The program has a Governance and Community Capacity Building Strategy that relies on the idea that communities need to strengthen certain


10 capacities (i.e., leadership, participation) to manage their natural resources sustainably. My Field Practicum intended to evaluate how the training that the communities have received from the program has helped them to strengthen their social capital and community capacity. These two factors were integrated into the field practicum to understand the relationship between the context, the program, and the outcomes that it has achieved. In other words, the report views the communities as a system, and the external and internal conditions affect how the parts interact and produce different results. After completing the assessment, the Field Practicum revealed that the p rogram has helped the communities to strengthen their bonding or internal social capital, but there is still an opportunity to improve the bridging capital and synergies with outside actors and among the stakeholders. Caquet communities are strong in lead ership and resource mobilization. However, they lack a critical approach regarding opportunities to receive funds and establish relationships with others. Therefore, in managing the forest under a post-conflict scenario, communities need to recognize that assuming a leading and autonomous role is a long-term process and that their lack of experience is due to historical precedents. They need time, experience and knowledge to exercise the power to make decisions about how to manage their natural resources sustainably. It would be counter-productive to ask them to take the leading role without the necessary preparation. Also, the local and national government should listen to the shared -alternative vision of the future that farmers have built to ensure an ef ficient transition from war to peace.


11 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION They are terrorists. They are the bad guys and we need to destroy each of them to have sustainable economic growth and to have a country full of peace and opportunities. I was 11 years-old when for the first time in my life I asked my father, what candid ate he was going to support in the 2002 election; without any doubt he asserted this belief. It was January of 2002, and after a failed peace process with the FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolutionaries de Colombia) guerrillas during Andrs Pastranas government, and the rise of kidnappings and violent attacks against the civilian population, the country was ready to change from a strategy of negotiated peace to the military defeat of the FARC (Daza-Beltrn, 2010). In August 2002, lvaro Uribe became the president of Colombia under the slogan of Mano Firme, Corazn Grande (Tough hand, Big heart), which represented the turning point in terms of internal security policies (DazaBeltrn, 2010). However, after eight years of non-stop military confrontation, the FARC rebels were diminished but not defeated. When the next President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, was elected in 2010 he focused his work on finding a third way to bring an end to the conflict (Santos 2014). Santoss new alternative was a peace process because a military strategy had kept the country in a permanent state of war (Santos, Presidencia de la Repblica., 2014). After Syria, Colombia has the worlds largest number of internally displaced people. This has bred food insecurity and led to a loss of livelihoods; it is associated with child labor, school desertion and sexual exploitation as well as the recruitment by armed groups of thousands of mostly indigenous children (World Food Program, 2016). They are terrorists, but we have to stop killing each other and give my grandsons and granddaughters a chance to live in a different country. Can you even imagine what it would have been like to have the opportunity to dream about peace? I thought I would not be alive to see this


12 happening. I was 26 years-old and I had asked my father his opinion about the peace agreement reached in August 2016. As Humberto de la Calle, Head of Colombian N egotiator Team said in 2016 The word is opportunity we should not limit peace to the silence of the rifles; The most remarkable issue is that, today, there are new opportunities to believe, create, and re construct ourselves through dialogue and respect (de la Calle, Wall Street Journal, 2016) The peace agreement brings with it new opportunities for scientific and social investigation. A five decades old conflict has had a negative impact on the research and scientific realm in Colombia. Beyond the number of people who have died, and the places where the conflict occurred, the war influenced where and what type of research could be conducted. In other words, the long-term conflict penetrated Colombias social and scien tific culture, and led to the acceptance of the collateral damages as normal (Centro Nacional de Memoria Histrica, 2013). As the citation below shows, forgetting was a mechanism to deal with fear, to let the things go. Si no se habla, si no se escribe y no se cuenta, se olvida y poco a poco se va tapando bajo el miedo. La gente que vio el muerto se va olvidando y tiene miedo de hablar, as que llevamos un oscurantismo de aos en el que nadie habla de eso [...] Como nadie habla de lo que pas, nada ha pasado. Entonces bien, si nada ha pasado, pues sigamos viviendo como si nada Testimonio de habitante de Trujillo, Valle del Cauca (Centro Nacional de Memoria Histrica, 2013, p. 31) If you do not speak, do not write or tell others, you forget, and sooner or later it gets covered by the fear. People who saw the dead are forgetting and are afraid to talk. Thus, we have been living in darkness for years, where nobody talks about it [...] Since nobody talks about what happened, nothing has happened. So, if nothing has happened, lets keep living as we usually do Testimony of Trujillo citizen, Valle del Cauca. One could argue that during the last 35 years, because of the security co ncerns and government policies, it was impossible for researchers to go to areas such as the Amazon to understand how the population lived despite the conflict; yet in the transition from conflict and violence, research can contribute to understanding the complexities inherent to the


13 implementation of the peace agreement and the long term impact of civil war in Colombian society. In this report I describe my effort to grasp the reality and future of governance in one of the most isolated and conflict affected areas of the country: Caquet. The peace agreement is shifting the power balance in many regions of the country. Demobilization and disarmament imply that FARC must abandon its long-standing role as a powerful referee of economic, social and political affairs in certain regions. Simultaneously, the Colombian State intends to enter a region where distrust has been prevalent because of decades of State absence and neglect. In the Amazonian department of Caquet, considered a FARC stronghold, 300 families are currently facing the challenge of implementing the peace agreement in their territory while also deciding about the path to sustainable development. This process entails trusting others, collaborating, and making decisions about health and education se rvices, environmental and economic issues and even aspects of everyday life. The Paisajes Conectados program (Connected Landscapes), implemented by Colombian NGO Fondo Accin since 2013, focuses on reducing deforestation and promoting sustainable developme nt in two municipalities of Caquet, while building new skills and sharing knowledge with the local communities to strengthen governance and participation. This report presents the findings of my field practicum, developed with the objective of determining how local governance strategy, implemented by the program, has influenced the reduction of forest clearing and natural habitat degradation.


14 CHAPTER 2 OBJECTIVES OF THE FIELD PRACTICUM General Objective To determine how the local Governance and Community Capacity Building Strategy (GCCBS), implemented by Paisajes Conectados program, has strengthened communities social capital and community capacity domains Specific Objectives 1. Identify strengths and weaknesses of the community capacity building strateg y. 2. Identify what domains of community capacity building have materialized in the areas where the program works. 3. Ascertain what skills/ mechanisms empower communities to discuss and agree upon guidelines for the management of natural resources.


15 CHAPTER 3 CONTEXT The History of the Conflict The conflict in Colombia has left 8.5 million victims (Unidad Nacional de Victimas, 2017), but that number is an approximation, due to lack of information and under reporting (Centro Nacional de Memoria Histrica, 2013) Trying to explain the causes, consequences and actors of a 50 year-conflict is an enormous job. The war has occurred mainly in the countryside, and the urban areas have watched the conflict through the media; it has multiple causes rooted in the distribution of the political, social, and economic power. It has been a long -term conflict that blurs the particularities of it, and has changed the role of the actors during that time. Finally, the war has focused on attacking the civilian population, but it is low -intensity, therefore, the conflict has been like a continuous state of insecurity (Centro Nacional de Memoria Histrica, 2013). In 1817, af ter Simn Bolvar and his army overcame the Spanish army, and Colombia was proclaimed a new nation, two political parties were created to represent the interests of the people: Liberals and Conservatives. However, instead of worrying about the people, Libe rals and Conservatives spent most of the 19th and half of the 20th centuries fighting for political power (Killcullen & Milles, 2015). Meanwhile, small peasant farmers and the poorest people in the country faced the challenges of working in rural areas; powerful landowners took advantage of small farmers work force in exchange for sharing small pieces of their land with them to cultivate and live with their families (Bushnell, 1996). The relationship between landowners and farmers created social discontent that caused disputes among them. Some peasants claimed property land titles for the land they occupied and worked for years, and that landowners had underutilized; in other words, small farmers want ed to


16 have legal access to the land their landowner did not use or had abandoned in order to cultivate and provide a better life for their families (Bushnell, 1996). Moreover, the Colono (the person who migrates to access land) wanted to legalize the land claims of the territories where they had settled down (Palacios, 2011). However, the legal procedure to obtain a property title for the abandoned land was expensive, required travel to the registry of fice in the departmental? capital, hiring a lawyer and bringing witnesses to prove that the land was their property (Palacios, 2011). Therefore, having a property title was a process that required money and time, conditions th at poor farmers lacked. Furthermore, in urban areas like Bogot and Medelln, the outstanding performance of the construction and textile industries appealed to dozens of families who had migrated from rural areas. However, the cities were not prepared for accommodating (i.e. housing, public services) the number of people who came, and because the technology and equipment used in the textile industry was imported, and the domestic market was limited, the industries failed to generate sufficient employment o pportunities (Bushnell, 1996). Consequently, people became dissatisfied and angry. In 1936, President Alfonso Lpez Pumarejo tried to implement a rural reform program with the goal of solving these social problems (Bushnell, 1996). But as David Bushnell explains in his book The Making of Modern Colombia. Nation in Spite of Itself (1993) the Revolucin en marcha did not intend to transform the social and political system; it wanted to help the poor to have a bigger piece of the cake without affecting elites (Bushnell, 1996). The reform encompassed measures such as improving access to property titles where farmers had occupied and cultivated the land. Nonetheless, the refo rms reinforced the idea that the land should only be owned by the persons (rancher, agricultural enterprises) who could best exploit it (Palacios,


17 2011). This reform raised serious questions in its application: How to prove the time of occupancy without formal documentation? How to access the judicial system for those who lacked reading or writing skills? How to prove that the landowner had not cultivated the land, but the farmers had? Who owns the land and why? (Palacios, 2011) Disagreements surrounding the reforms reached a boiling point in 1948, when Jorge Eliecer Gaitn, a liberal politician and presidential candidate, was murdered. After this event, the country suffered a period called La Violencia (Killcullen & Milles, Colombia: A Political Economy of War to an Inclusive Peace, 2015) The conflict migrated from the cities to the rural areas, and at least 300,000 people died during this part of Colombias history (Killcullen & Milles, Colombia: A Political Economy of War to an Inclusive Peace, 2015) This situation contrasts with the economic performance of the country. Between 1945 and 1955 the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew 5 per cent, industry grew 9 per cent, both of which are explained by the post-war effect that increased national exports (Bushnell, 1996). To end this period of conflict, Liberals and Conservatives signed an agreement in 1956 in which both parties would share power (Killcullen & Milles,2015). This period (1958-1974) was called the National Front. However, the agreement took away the possibility for other political parties to participate in elections, and generated discontent throughout t he territory, Colombias temperate, urbanized, populated, developed center contrasted with its tropical, rural, sparsely inhabited, neglected periphery. Structural inequality and lack of opportunity created a fertile ground for revolutionaries seeking to overthrow the system, and those living outside the law (Killcullen & Milles, 2015, p. 118). By 1960 only 65 per cent of children in the country attended primary school, and only 15 percent of rural children had access to education. The literacy level in rural areas dropped to 37 per cent (Bushnell, 1996).


18 The access, use and ownership of the land was at the core of the Colombian conflict. For many decades the conflict was fueled by the tension between elites and their mechanis ms to keep the status quo and suppress the struggle of the small peasant farmers and other sectors to promote change (Centro Nacional de Memoria Histrica, 2013). However, the long-term conflict brought other issues that increased the complexity of the war dynamics: guerrillas, rural armed movements, and drug trafficking (Centro Nacional de Memoria Histrica, 2013) Figure 3-1. Massacre in Colombia. Fernando Botero, 2000. National Museum of Colombia Leftist revolutionary groups in the country migrated to rural areas, most of them geographically isolated, but with great land extensions such as in Meta, Caquet, Putumayo, Santander, Nario, Guaviare. They were able to establish a resistance against the national and traditional political power (Bushnell, 1996). These zones were sparsely populated and were known as colonization zones, where property ownership of the land was relatively informal (Bushnell, 1996). By 1964 Colombia had at least three guerrillas groups: Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), Ejrcito de Liberacin Nacional (ELN), and Movimiento 19 de abril (M-19) (Killcullen & Milles, 2015). According to these guerillas, armed struggle was the only option to achieve social justice.


19 Furthermore, depending on the historical conditions and relationship with the civilian population, the Centro Nacional de Memoria Histrica of Colombia (National H istoric Memory Center) has stated that the guerillas groups, particularly the rural ones (FARC and ELN), had a strong relationship with the civilian population in the isolated rural areas under their control (Centro Nacional de Memoria Histrica, 2013). In this relationship, the guerrilla groups assumed a government role, and the members of the group inserted themselves into the social system of the territory. This condition had an impact on the use of violence against the civi lian population (Centro Nacional de Memoria Histrica, 2013) The FARC, the largest guerrilla movement in Latin America, provided some form of security to the smallest farmers, created an artisanal justice system, and funded their movement by forcing private companies and landowners to pay tolls and fees for working in those areas (Bushnell, 1996). However, the process of establishing their regional power had an impact on the administration of the territory and the civilian population. On one side, FARC targeted any political or military representation of the State. Therefore, during the decade of 1990 the struggle was against the police, and local politicians (Centro Nacional de Memoria Histrica, 2013). Using bombs, gas cylinders, and destroying the little infrastructure of the zones, FARC undermined the presence of the national army and government institutions, leaving the civilian population at the mercy of the FARC commanders. On the other hand, between 1980 and 2003, right-wing paramilitary groups challenged the power of FARC in its territories to get access to natural resources and the drug trafficking routes. In the most isolated areas where FARC had control, the p aramilitary groups implemented an extinction strategy; the goal was to murder the civilian population in the places where they arrived and to execute the FARC supporters. This strategy increased substantially the population


20 of internally displaced Colombians as well as the number of deaths (Centro Nacional de Memoria Histrica, 2013). Between 1982 and 2002 there were 1,982 massacres and 7,600 deaths because of this extinction plan. Six of every ten of these deaths were the respo nsibility of the paramilitary groups. Nonetheless, FARC executed some massacres in areas where paramilitary groups had influence; an estimated 2,069 deaths were caused by the FARC (Centro Nacional de Memoria Histrica, 2013). As a consequence, in some areas the civilian population strengthened the relationship it had with guerrillas, in others, people accused FARC of allowing paramilitary incursions and not providing them with military support to resist the paramilitaries. Yo hablaba con una seora que vive por la parte de arriba [] y yo le deca: Oye, usted no ve esta gente [la guerrilla] cmo se est yendo, aqu nos va a suceder algo, aqu nosotros vamos ser los que vamos a pagar todo lo que ellos han hecho, porque algo va a venir para la comunidad, aqu el que se quede es vctima. lo matan, porque esa gente [los paramilitares] va a venir, esos que dicen que estn llegando al Carmen de Bolvar y por toda la regin [] y ya hoy nos dejan [la guerrilla] a merced de otro grupo [], y eso fue lo que sucedi. Sobreviviente de la Masacre de El Salado (Centro Nacional de Memoria Histrica, 2013, p. 39) I was talking with a lady who lives in the north part of the town [], and I told her: Hey, you dont see these people [the guerrilla] They are leaving. Something is going to happen here. We are going to pay for all the things they have done because something is coming to the community. The one who stays is a victim, they kill him, because those people [paramilitaries] are coming; those who are coming to Carmn del Darin and the whole regions [] and today they are leaving us [the guerrilla] to the mercy of another group [] and it happened Survivor of the El Salado Massacre. The citation above is an example of what the civilian population had to suffer because of the massacres. By 1980, guerrilla groups were not the only ones that had developed a complex network for producing and exporting coca: individuals such as Pablo Escobar and paramilitary groups found a way to fund their struggle against national institutions (Killcullen & Milles, 2015). From 1980 to 1990, Escobar ordered and funded several terrorist attacks against the civilian population and state institutions like the police and military force s (Picolli, 2004). His


21 plan was to pressure the national government to forbid the extradition of Colombian citizens to the United States (Picolli, 2004). Moreover, the narco-culture permeated the political structure in Colombia. Thirty-four per cent of the senators elected in 1994 had received money from the Cali Cartel, one of the biggest drug cartels in the country, to fund their campaigns. Also, Ernesto Sampers presidential campaign received fund s from the narcos (Tobar-Torres, 2015). FARC controlled two of the biggest regions in the country, Meta and Caquet, and added extortions and kidnappings as part of its efforts against the government. The kidnappings were used to force prisoner exchanges with the national government; FARC would release kidnapped people in exchange for FARC soldiers in jails; however, the exchanges never happened, but the constant attacks on the civilian population had a political cost to the gu errillas. In February 2008, 2 million people protested against FARC as the organization began to lose credibility among the civilian population (Centro Nacional de Memoria Histrica, 2013). The evolution and scale of violence in Colombia is summarized in figure 3-2 1 below (Centro Nacional de Memoria Histrica, 2013). Figure 3-2. Evolution of the main violent crimes during the conflict per victim number, 1980 2012. Source: Centro Nacional de Memoria Histrica, 2013. From left to right: Massacres, kidnappings, homicides, forced disappearance, forced displacement.


22 Violence, drugs, and social injustice made Colombia look like a failed state during the 1990s and the first years of the 2000s (Killcullen & Milles, 2015). In 2002, after a financial cooperation grant from the government of United States of America, President lvaro Uribe initiated an intense strategy against all the armed actors in the country (Killcullen & Milles, 2015). His goal was to recover governmental authority in the country. However, the conflict was not over, and the war against violent groups was no longer an option. When the next president of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, was elected in 2010 he focused his work on finding a third way to end the armed conflict (Santos, Palabras del Presidente Juan Manuel Santos en el Conversatorio La Tercera Va: el camino a la prosperidad econmica y social 2014). Santos believed that the previous governments exclusively military strategy had left the country in a permanent state of war (Santos, Palabras del Presidente Juan Manuel Santos en el Conversatorio La Tercera Va: el camino a la prosperidad econmica y social, 2014) In contrast, the Santos believed that a strategy of negotiated peace was a better alternative to achieve future development and prosperity. Peace Process For four years Colombias government negotiated a peace agreement with the FARC guerillas. This process began in March 2011 with some exploratory meetings. Initial contacts [were] kept confidential to protect [the] processs early viability (de la Calle, Ending Colombias Guerrilla War, Securing the Peace, 2016) As soon as the agenda was defined, the negotiations were made public in October 2012 (de la Calle 2016). Going back to 2011, the FARC leadership suggested that it was ready to enter peace negotiations with the C olombian government. By the start of 2012, the FARC said it intended to abandon its practice of kidnapping civilians for extortion (Country watch, 2016, p. 49). The Santos administrations goal was to bring an end to the conflict in order to start the peace building phase (Peace


23 Government Team Colombia 2016). The agenda included five topics: rural reform, political participation, illicit drugs, victims, and end of the conflict, which referred to justice mechanisms such as penalties for those found guilty of committing war crimes. The agenda also considered the implementation, verification, and endorsement of the process (Peace Government Team Colombia 2016). In August 2016, the negotiations concluded, and the peace agree ment was presented to Colombian citizens and international authorities (Peace Government Team Colombia 2016). For the first time in 52 years of continuous war against FARC, an opportunity for peace was possible. However, during the subsequent referendum Colombian citizens vote against implementing the agreement, due to concerns about treatment of the rebels (de la Calle, Wall Street Journal, 2016). Opponents of the agreement contended that the justice components of the peace agreement, which centered on truth, reconciliation and reintegration, rather than solely on trials, were tantamount to allowing rebels to get away with murder (Reiter, The wrong choice in Colombia, 2016). After a month of re-negotiation, taking into account many of the opponents objections to the agreement, the Colombian government and FARC reached a new final accord to end their longstanding conflict. The revised agreement contained improved mechanisms for transitional justice, particularly outlining and defining what types of crimes would be judged by the special tribunals, and providing more specifics about how the FARC was going to become a political party (Peace Government Team Colombia 2016). Geography and Climate Colombia has a total area of 1,138,910 square km that includes the 1,038,700 square kilometers of land and another 100,210 square kilometers of water (Central Intelligence Agency, 2016). It is the fourth largest country in South America (Central Intelligence Agency, 2016) The land area of Colombia encompasses a vast mainland and the islands of Malpelo and Roncador


24 Cay. Five countries border Colombia: Panama to the west; Ecuador and Peru in the Southwest; and Venezuela and Brazil to the east. It is the only South American country with coastlines on both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea (Central Intelligence Agency, 2016). The topography of the mainland can be categorized into four different areas: the Caribbean and Pacific lowlands, Central and Andean highlands, high plateaus and fertile valleys, and great plains (Vera, 2006). The Andes Cordillera breaks through from the southwest to the north of the country through three ranges; the massive cordillera oriental separates the mountain part of the country (Andes) from Amazon and Orinoco regions, which are widespread savannahs with high presence of native forests (McGreevey, Kline, Garavito, Gilmore, & Parsons, 2016). The topographic interplay of deeply entrenched valley regions and high mountains ranges make Colombia a distinct vertical country, which also finds its repercussions in cultural diversity (Borsdorf & Stadel, 2015). In other words, from north to south, and east to west the country has different cultures that have been shaped by the territory and th e natural resources available. Also, the division of the Andes in the territory has had an impact on infrastructure building and the connection of markets in the country (Borsdorf & Stadel, 2015). Because of the countrys proximity to the Equator, its climate is tropical and isothermal, but annual precipitation is variable. Climatic differences are related to altitude and the displacement of the intertropical convergence zone between the two major air masses from which the northeast and southeast trade winds originate (Vera, 2006, p. 18). In addition to this, the temperature is directly related to elevation. Average temperature decreases uniformly by about 0.6 C per hundred meters of ascent. Traditional terminology recognizes distinct temperature or thermal floors (pisos trmicos), which are sometimes referred to as tierra caliente, or hot lands up to about 900 meters; tierra templada, temperate areas corresponding to the coffee


25 region of 900 meters to 2,000 meters; as well as tierra fra, cold lands which are 2,000 to 3,000 meters above sea level (Vera, 2006). Population Colombia has a population of 48,600,000 (World Bank, 2016). Twenty-nine percent of the population is under 15 years old, 64 percent is between 15 and 64 years old, and 7 percent is older than 64 years old (Colombian National Department of Statistics, 2005) Also, 51.2 percent or 24,678,400 people, are women and 48.8 percent or 23,521,600, are men (Colombian National Department of Statistics, 2005). By 2015, the rural population represented 23.6 percent and the urban population 53.9 percent of the total population (World Bank 2015). Urban population is projected to increase by 1.4 percent in the next five years, while the total rural population is projected to decrease by 0.4 percent (World Bank, 2016). Health and Education The Colombia populations life expectancy is 74 years old (World Bank, 2016) and the probability of dying before the fifth birthday is 19 per 1,000 live births (Ojeda, Ordonez, & Ochoa, 2010). Maternal health is an ongoing challenge for the country. Every year 400 women die because of complications with maternal health. Of those, 18 percent are deaths of women from 10 to 19-years-old (Toro, Acosta, Fontalvo, & Ruiz, 2015). According to the National Health and Demographic survey, there is an unsatisfied demand for preventative reproductive methods, which leads to unwanted pregnancies (Ojeda, Ordonez, & Ochoa, 2010). The Pacific region, Guajira, Cesar and Bolvar are the locations with the highest percentage of these demands (Ojeda, Ordonez, & Ochoa, 2010). Regarding education, Colombias literacy rate is 93 percent and a person can expect to have 13.5 years of primary and secondary education (United Nation Development Programme, 2015). Overall 9.8 percent of women and 10.5 percent of men do not have any education at all


26 (Colombian National Department of Statistics, 2005) Although the country has succeeded in placing all children into primary education in the last 5 years (Toro, Acosta, Fontalvo, & Ruiz, 2015), it is necessary to continue this movement into higher educational levels. In 2013 o nly, 78.3 percent of the population attended secondary education; to achieve the goal of 100 percent attendance, the United Nations has determined that 260,000 more citizens must continue on to secondary education (Toro, Acosta, Fontalvo, & Ruiz, 2015). Colombia invested 4.9 percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in education in 2015 (United Nation Development Programme, 2015). In a recent ranking of 169 countries, the Human Development Index (H DI) placed Colombia in the high human development category, at 79th place, but in the Happy Planet Index, used to measure human well-being in conjunction with environmental impact, Colombia was in the 6th position. Agriculture and Economy Climate and agricultural activities are linked in Colombia. Depending on the thermal floor, soils either are used for cropping or for other purposes (Vera, 2006); In tierras templadas it is possible to crop coffee, plantains, rice and other products. Agricultural activities represent 6.3 percent of the total Gross Domestic Product (World Bank, 2016). The country uses less than the 50 percent of the available land in agricultural activities, and its top three crops are: oil palm fruit, plantains and sugar cane (Food and Agriculture Oganization of the United Nations, 2011) During 2015, the agricultural sector rose 1.1 percent. Rice ( +12.9% ), cacao (+ 15.8 percent), and palm oil ( +9.9 percent) had a bigger yield tha n other products such as maize whose yields declined (-18 percent), sorghum (-36.7 percent), and soy (-8.8 percent) (Mejia, 2015). Yet, in 2015 Colombia imported 8.8 million tons of food, 9.3 percent more than 2014 (Mejia, 2015). The causes of this drop in agricultural production and food security are complex and diverse. Food security has been affected by El Nio, the devaluation of the Colombian peso, and


27 mobility restrictions and confinement caus ed by armed conflict (World Food Programme, 2016). Indeed, El Nio weather patterns have led to limited access to water for 11 million people, and 30 percent of municipalities have had restricted access to drinking water, as w ell as having to contend with forest fires, drought and flooding (World Food Programme, 2016). Furthermore, the most productive and populated regions in Colombia are in an advanced process of deforestation (Instituto Geogrfico Agustn Codazzi, 2014); all soils have some conditions that make it suitable for certain types of economic activities (farming, cattle raising, mining, forest), but 32,794,351 hectares, or 28 percent of the total mainland, i s under poor management (Instituto Geogrfico Agustn Codazzi, 2014). Soils have been used for different economic activities that are unsustainable in these locations, and have caused erosion. In zones such as Santander and Magdalena Medio, historically known for their fertile soils, it is now impossible to crop in some of these areas, due to mining, the cultivation of coca, and the expansion of cattle ranching in the 80s and 90s (Instituto Geogrfico Agustn Codazzi, 2014). Figure 3-3. Land use conflict in Colombia. Source: IGAC, 2008. Land use conflict: Red (Overexploitation) Yellow (Underutilized) Green: Adequate use. The Colombia Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2016 was 282.4 billion and in 2015 it was 292.8 billion (World Bank, 2016), 86 billion less than in 2014. Seventy percent of its


28 exports depend on oil, yet financial and social services are important sectors for employment (Dinero Magazine, 2015). The current account deficit remains high, and inflation is accelerating due to exchange rate depreciation and rising food prices resulting from El Nio Finally, even though Colombias GDP is one of the largest in Latin America, according to the GINI index, Colombia is among the top 20 most unequal countries of the world (World Bank, 2016), with 20 percent of the income of the country in the hands of 1 percent of the population (Piketty, 2016). Environment Colombia is the second most biodiverse country in the world and it is one of the 11 countries in the world that still preserves a large portion of its original forest (Rodrguez, 2000). Over fifty million hectares are fully covered with forest (Rodrguez, 2000). However, biodiversity is under threat. Illegal crops such as coca or poppy, a weak government presence in some of the most biodiverse areas of the country, and unsustainable use of the soil are the most significant menaces for ecosystems (Rodrguez, 2000). In 1960 Colombia had 14.6 million hectares in ranching; by 1995 this more than doubled to 35.5 million hectares (Rodrguez, 2000). Illegal crops are another main driver of deforestation. In 2000 Approximately 605,916 hectares were used to cultivate coca and poppy (Rodrguez, 2000); It is important to remember that most of the soils where illegal crops are located used to be primary forest, and to increase the productivity of these plantations, producers use a lot of chemical pesticides (Uribe & Rojas, 2014). The most visible consequence of this activity is that 48 percent of the soil is eroded (Puyana & Ariztizabal, 2014). Unfortunately, the situation is not getting better. During 2015 and 2016 Colombia had the largest increase in coca crops, expanding by 39 percent more hectares than in 2014 (El Tiempo, 2016). Nario, Santander, Cauca and Caquet were the regions where the rate increased the


29 most. Numbers assume a higher importance if it is considered that these locations were selected as priority zones for the post-conflict phase (Puyana & Ariztizabal, 2014). Moreover, 90 percent of the cities and municipalities that have been selected as priority areas for the peace accords are regions with declared conservation areas; because of this overlap, a big concern is how to develop these territories while balancin g peace opportunities and the imperative of environmental sustainability (Puyana & Ariztizabal, 2014). Caquet Overview Figure 3-4. Caquets municipalities and police stations Source: Valencia, 1998. Caquet (see figure 3-4) has a total area of 88,965 square kilometers, roughly equivalent to 71,172 Olympic pools, and it has a population of 465,477 persons, 80 percent of whom are peasants (Caquet Goverment, 2014). Also, it has 16 municipalities and some indigenous resguardos. Regarding population and health indicators, 46 percent of the population is between 15 44 years old; its life expectancy rate is 69.6 years for men, and 64.9 years for women, and its population growth rate is 12.93 percent (Caquet Goverment, 2014).


30 Only 46.15 percent of the population in the department has finished elementary school and 35.8 percent have graduated from high school. Barely 30 percent of Caqueteos living in rural areas have full access to public services like sanitation, electricity and potable water (Caquet Goverment 2014). Data for 2016 reveal that 35.8 percent are living in poverty and this means 117,315 more people than those counted in 2014, however, Caquet is not in the li st of the poorest regions of Colombia ((DANE), 2017) The departments heterogeneous population is composed mostly of colonos: families who were expelled during La Violencia from nearby Andean departments such as Huila and Tolima came to Caquet looking for new opportunities (Arcila, Gonzales, Gutierrez, Rodriguez, & Salazar, 2000). Among other characteristics, colonization was hard on the forest (Valencia, 1998). The first colonos that arrived had the idea that the forest did not have a monetary value; it was necessary to cut down the trees and to crop cacao, plantains, or to have cattle (Valencia, 1998); this idea remains until today among the farmers. Caquet has always been in a geographic periphery of Colombia. The region has historically represented an opportunity to colonize and secure a piece of land (Arcila, et al. 2000), yet land tenure is uncertain. Moreover, the soils are of poor quality and this makes it very hard to produce good yields. Most of the region is isolated; road infrastructure is poor and rivers are the main arteries (Arcila, et al. 2000); connection with the central part of the country is interrupted by the Andes mountain range. The regions long history of war and pervasive neglect by the central state created a power void that was filled by the FARC, but also allowed for an active local movement of farmers and ranc hers. FARC rebels took over some of the municipalities in Caquet by the late 1970s.


31 The first area where the FARC settled down in Caquet was in the municipalities of Guacamayas, San Vicente del Cagun, Puerto Rico, and Cartagena del Chair (Valencia, 1998).The guerrilla groups did not face much opposition from local people; instead they found that most believed in the ideal of an equitable society and blamed the government for their poverty. The FARC discourse aligned closely with the local populations grievances and served to discredit the government (Arcila, et al. 2000). The rebel army became the main political authority in the department (Arcila, et al. 2000); thus, the rules designed by the FARC covered issues ranging from domestic disputes to fuel prices (Valencia, 1998). The presence of the State in Caquet was represented by the Army, but it failed to build a strong social network; on the contrary, the armys mission to defeat the guerrillas brought violence, displacement and death to the region (Garca-Villegas, 2017). Colombian government institutions in this region were considered inefficient and illegitimate by the local civilian population (Garca-Villegas, 2017). When I came to the department for the field practicum I discovered that the territory had been re-organized by FARC in the 1970s. Colombia has an administrative system that divides the territory into departments, mu nicipalities, villages (veredas). However, in Caquet municipalities are divided in Ncleos veredales. This institution is not formal, and the legal array of norms do not incorporate this division, yet in the department, the territory has been organized this way. Here is an example of how civilians work with FARC in an area of Caquet: Cuando los muchachos [Guerrilleros de las FARC] llegaron fueron limpiando esto de ladrones []; cuando ocurra un robo no era sino avisarles y a los pocos das aparecan las reses y los ladrones muertos. As acabaron con el robo en esta regin. Era cierto que uno pagaba una cuotica de acuerdo a lo que tena, pero poda dormir tranquilo. Testimony of a Colono (Valencia, 1998, p. 136) When the guys arrived [FARC members] they cleaned the territory of thieves []; When something happened you let them know and few days later, the cattle appeared and the thieves were dead. That is how they eradicate robbery in this region. It is true we have to pay a fee, considering the economic status, but you can sleep calmly. Testimony of a Colono (Valencia, 1998, p. 136)


32 Between 1978 and 2000 the region experienced significant economic growth due to the coca boom. Because of the soil conditions, the absence of infrastructure, and markets to trade, the cacao, plantain, rubber and African palm crops were unsuccessful, yet coca was an economic option that brought easy money to Caquet. By 1989, 50 per cent of the local econ omy depended on coca production (Valencia, 1998) and it grew (see Map 3-5) because of the demand from the international markets (i.e. the United States, Mexico), the absence of government institutions and full control by the FARC guerrilla (Valencia, 1998). However, in the long-run, the coca economy had a negative impact on local communities; several narcos who came to the region took lands from the small producers and forced them to migrate deeper i n the forest to gain access to a piece of land (Valencia, 1998). Figure 3-5. Coca production areas versus FARC presence. Source: Startfor,2014. The areas in red are the ones where coca crops and FARC presence crossed. Caquet, Putumayo, Norte de Santander, and Nario had the presence of both The areas in red are the ones where coca crops and FARC presence crossed. Caquet, Putumayo, Norte de Santander, and Nario had the presence of both. During the 80s and 90s the insurgent army built up its presence in the region. The FARC recruited adults and children from rural areas to strengthen their forces, cultivated thousands of hectares with coca, charged coca paste taxes, opened and controlled cocaine trade


33 routes and established connections with drug kingpins (Arcila, Gonzales, Gutierrez, Rodriguez, & Salazar, 2000). By 1996 FARC had 16,000 combatants in the region (Arcila, Gonzales, Gutierrez, Rodriguez, & Salazar, 2000). The FARC also made alliances with local politicians in order to protect their interests. In several elections the armed group coerced the civilian population to vote for their candidates (Nunez & Moreno), while also kidnapping, threatening or even murdering political rivals (Arcila, Gonzales, Gutierrez, Rodriguez, & Salazar, 2000) According to official data internal victims of the conflict in Caquet totaled 372,661 (Ciro, 2016). These included victims of homicide, forced displacement and kidnapping. Graph 2 shows how in the final part of the 20th century and early 21th, displacement (purple), and kidnapping (green) ravaged the department. Figure 3-6. Kidnapping and displacement in Caquet between 1997 to 2007. Source: MOE, 2008. Purple: Internal displacement. Green: Kidnappings The ratification of the peace agreement between the government and the FARC guerrillas would turn the page for this region. The government announced that investments in public infrastructure and local development would follow, thus terminating the long per iod of neglect. Implementation of the peace accord will require unusual levels of participation and consultation


34 with local communities, as decisions over development and growth will have to originate from the bottom up. These new rules will have an impact on the way different stakeholders interact, plan, decide, implement and measure impacts and results that affect communities. One of the most significant changes will be FARCs commitment to act politically without guns. FARC reiterates its disposition to use only words as a weapon to build the future. Count on us, peace will triumph declared FARCs top commander Rodrigo Londoo during a press conference on October 3th, 2016. As the bell sounds for peace and post-conflict it means that there will be new rules for collaboration, participation and decision making in Caquet and other parts of the country where until now, weapons and intimidation prevailed in the absence of the rule of law. Solano and Cartagena del Chair Overview Figure 3-7. Solano and Cartagena del Chair. Source: ARC GIS The municipality of Solano was established in 1936. It has the lowest demographic density in the department: 0.3 habitants/ km, and its extension is 42,482 km2, meaning that 48 per cent of the departments territory is concentrated in this area (Solano City Hall, 2016). On the other hand, Cartagena del Chair, was established in 1966, yet during the XIX century some colonos from Per came looking for rubber. By 1977 most of the population of the municipality was attracted by the coca boom that the region was experiencing. Urban settlements cover an Solano Cartagena del Chair


35 area of 12,906 km2, while 70 per cent of the area consists of rural settlements and forest (Cartagena del Chair City Hall, 2015) For both regions the rivers (Caquet, Orteguaza, and Cagun) represent the only option for transportation. According to the locals, the boundaries between the communities, the control of the market and trade r outes, and the history of violence are tightly related to the rivers. The Paisajes Conectados Program: An Alternative for Conservation and Sustainability in Caquet In 2013, closely following the official launch of the peace talks with the FARC, Fondo Accin, a Colombian NGO, began implementing the Paisajes Conectados program in Caquet. The program is based on the assumption that if provided with alternative sources of income and the appropiate tools for governance, local populations can actively reduce forest clearing and natural habitat degradation. (Fondo Accin, 2015, p. 3) To achieve this change, the program has three strategies: 1. Reduce deforestation by promoting alternative, profitable, environmentally sound, low carbon economic options, food sovereignty and sustainable livelihoods for rural communities; 2. Strengthen and empower local civil society and local/regional governmen ts; 3. Create conditions to enable performance-based payment mechanisms (Fondo Accin, 2015). Fondo Accin works with fifteen local community-based organizations and external decision makers such as public officials in the rural areas of the Solano and Cartagena del Chair municipalities in Caquet. The NGO provides support (financial, technical, strategic communications) and stimulates a collaborative planning approach backed by a Community Capacity Building and Governance Strategy (CBGS). The CBGS process involves: Determining capacity building and strengthening needs in the intervention areas


36 Conducting capacity-building activities with individuals and organizations from local communities, NGOs and governments, using the following instruments: Coaching: The Leadership School (Escuela de Lderes), is a coaching program for community leaders and local teams to improve their individual, social, communication and organizational skills, build leadership and create high performance tea ms; Training: Field Schools (Escuelas de Campo), Learning Tours (Giras de Intercambio) and workshops facilitate sharing best practices on issues related to natural resource management, information systems and communal voluntary action. Formal education: Community members have access to the Certificate in Rural Development in the Amazon, offered in partnership with the Amazonia University. Creating platforms for civil society participation to facilitate agreements on guidelines and regulations for sustainable management of natural resources between local governments and the community. Designing or strengthening mechanisms for sustainable planning and development (Communal Development Plans, Land Management Municipal Plans, Local Community Council Action Plans, Municipal Environmental Agendas and Municipal Development Plans.) (Fondo Accin, 2015)


37 CHAPTER 4 LITERATURE REVIEW Before conducting the field practicum, two concepts guided my proposal: Collaborative Planning and Community Capacity Building (CCB). However, when I was working in Caquet, I realized that the frame I was using to understand the local context was too narrow and several questions arose. Therefore, I had to look for other sources to have a more holistic perspective on the reality and I refocused on Natural Resources Governance and Complex Systems. For this report, all four concepts will be part of the theoretical framework to analyze the data. Complex Systems I view Caquet communities, Paisajes Conectados and the causes and outcomes of it as a complex system that it is influenced by the context of the country. I consider a complex system as one made up of a large number of parts that interact in a nonsimple way. In such systems, the whole is more than the sum of the parts, not in an ultimate, metaphysical sense, but in the important pragmatic sense that, given the properties of the parts and the laws of their interaction, it is not a trivial matter to infer the properties of the whole. In the face of complexity, an in principle reductionist may be at the same time a pragmatic holist (Simon, 1962, p. 468). This approach challenges the traditional ones, where the reality is seen as a linear process, it assumes the world is rather like a machine which can be designed to produce particular outputs by smart enough people, when in reality our contemporary society is complex, dynamic and evolving (Innes and Booher 2003, 6) Considering this definition, it is easy to understand that any change in one part might affect the whole, but raises questions as to where to intervene in a system? According to Meadows (1997), there are nine places to intervene 1. Numbers (subsidies, taxes, standards): it refers to the parameters (data, information) people use to make decisions. However they rarely change behavior.


38 2. Material stocks and flows: The plumbing structure, the stocks and flows and their physical arrangement, can!have an enormous effect on how a system operates. 3. Regulating negative feedback loops: they work as a thermostat; therefore, its purpose is to keep the system state or "room temperature" fairly constant at the desired level. Systems use them as emergency self -correctors to disruptions in the environment (i.e., preventive medicine, exercise, and good nutrition to bolster the body's ability to fight disease, integrated pest management to encourage natural predators of crop pests ) 4. Driving positive feedback loops: they are self -reinforcing, hence, the more it works the more it gains power to work some more. Population and economic growth rates in the world model are leverage points, because slowing them gives the many negative loops, through technology and markets and other forms of adaptation, time to function. It's the same as slowing the car when you are driving too fast, rather than calling for more responsive brakes or technical advances in steering 5. Information flows: Delivering the data and infor mation to a place/stakeholder where it was not going before. 6. The rules of the system (incentives, punishment, constraints): Norms, rules and mandatory mechanisms change behavior. Thus, power over rules is real power. 7. The power of self -organization: The ability to self -organize is the strongest form of system resilience. Encouraging diversity is at the heart of this change, because it will help the system to adapt to external transformations. 8. The goals of the system: every system has hierarchy and the sy stem goals work at different levels. What goals need to be achieved before the long -term goal can be accomplished? 9. The mindset or paradigm out of which the goals, rules, feedback structure arise and the power to transcend paradigms: paradigms are the ideas that enable the system to work comprehensively across all components. However, the real change occurs when the paradigm changes. No one paradigm is true, therefore, the system should be in constantly learning. Governance and Forest Management Governance is power and legitimacy (Orjuela, 2015). It refers to how actors exercise their power in meeting objectives (Lockwood, Davidson, Curtis, Stratford, & Griffith, 2010). It is the rules and processes that create and enforce negotiated agreements related to peoples access to and use of collective goods and services in society (Barnes, 2014, p. 3). Talking about governance is to talk about transformation, lessons learned and the constraints that this concept


39 has faced in the last 40 years. Over the decades a shift from governance to new governance has been stimulated by several processes: Increasing complexity, diversity, and dynamic change such that no single act or has the resources or knowledge to respond to the complexity of current challenges and/or opportunities; nonlinear or threshold effects that result in instability and unpredictability in global systems, such as climate change; reduced ability of central governments to capitalize on opportunities or to solve persistent problems; shifts in power and authority from national to local scales, and tendencies toward integration, centralization, and globalization on one hand, and disintegration, decentralization and localization on the other (Lockwood, Davidson, Curtis, Stratford, & Griffith, 2010). For my work, I understand Natural Resource Governance (NRG) as those rules and processes that control the allocation of rights to and us e of natural resources like forest, carbon, wildlife and land (Barnes, 2014, p. 3). This definition recognizes that the distribution and exercise of power are fundamental to addressing poverty, human right issues, and i nequality; also, that governance is a multi-level process that entails several actors/agents that will behave differently depending on their values, beliefs, power, agenda, interests and capacity (Barnes, 2014). Participatory and collaborative approaches give people greater ownership in the governance system, which make the implementation of policies, rules and agreements easier because of the broad support from the leaders and resources users (Arnold & Bartels, 2014). Participatory methods are inherently oriented toward empowering stakeholders through simple acts of inviting participation and creating opportunities to co -produce knowledge. This echoes the central tenets of governance, which emph asize decentralization of power and meaningful


40 stakeholder involvement to make more equitable, informed decisions about resource management (Arnold & Bartels, 2014, p. 240). However, participatory methodologies have some constraints: lack of conflict resolution skills to diffuse potentially volatile working groups (e.g., advisory councils with diverse representation); lack of appropriate skills for communication with nontraditional audiences; difficulties in identifying, interpreting, and using both technical and value oriented information; finally, local elites (those who enjoy privileged status and exercise decisive control over the organization of society (Muyenga, Child, & Lubilo, 2014, p. 181)) might facilitate the process of community development, or capture community benefits and dominate decision -making processes (Muyenga, Child, & Lubilo, 2014). Elite capture has recently been reported as a major threat to community-level and donor-funded projects. As a consequence, the participatory and collaborative approaches have an additional challenge to include ordinary people, as citizens, to have the right to control collective decision -making (Muyenga, Child, & Lubilo, 2014). Despite the constraints, these frameworks reduce costs, yield robust solutions, and lead to constituent support (Thompson, Elmendorf, McDonough, & Burban, 2005). Moreover, conflict management in collaborative planning scenarios is a constant cycle of proposing, evaluating, and modification (Chu-Carroll & Carberry, 2000). It is assumed that participants do not insist on winning an argument, but may change their beliefs if convincing evidence is presented to them and that agents, beyond their position, have common interests and goals (Chu-Carroll & Carberry, 2000). More than ever before, it has become important to look at relations and interactions, not just substance and attributes. Innovation and change rest largely on how and to what extent stakeholders from different levels interact, and how actors and institutions co -evolve through the


41 processes of transaction and learning (Ojha & Hall, 2013). Further, social networks are dynamic and may change the frame that stakeholders use to understand an issue; they strengthen or create new relationships through the involvement or participation (Arnold & Bartels, 2014). Typically, these group processes build momentum when motivated individuals, who are deeply engaged in the issues, begin to reach out to others through their social networks, either by inviting them to participate directly or by keeping them informed, interested and ready to help when discussion and dialogue transition into action (Arnold & Bartels, 2014, p. 244). Therefore, leadership among the stakeholders who are involv ed in the participatory methodologies has a vital role in reaching agreements, building trust and keeping processes moving forward. In the conflict of Timor-Leste, individual leadership from multi-level institutions was at the core of the post-conflict phase; people who had participated in peace negotiations led their institutions and communities to implement the agenda, they were the face of a national effort to leave war behind (Hasegawa, 2016). Leaders were able to integrate universal governance principles into local community values and customs, to transform the mindset and mentality of the people to achieve peace and development, and to commit with national interests (Hasegawa, 2016). Ownership or Resources Right of Natural Resources: When talking about conflicts in natural resource management, sometimes actors have the same needs, yet disagree over the distribution of the resource to meet their requirements (White, 2009; Bennett, 2001). Natural resource conflicts often appear non-violent, but they could be harmful for nature as they originate at a deep cognitive level and are linked to changing attitudes and values (A. Matilainen, 2017). The resources right idea is one example. Usually, ownership is considered just a legal issue, but it has psychological effects, because it provides a sense of possession and gives people the feeling of being in control (A. Matilainen, 2017). It means being able to do something in


42 regards to the possession and to be able to gain the desired outcome. Also, ownership gives people the feeling of having a place and the sense of belonging (A. Matilainen, 2017). This idea could explain why a person takes responsibility for a resource and tries to protect it and maintain it. However, in order to guarantee effective NRG, it is important to consider that processes and outcomes depend on the capacity and abilities of the community to manage their environment. What skills do communities need to take full advantage of their strengths and overcome their weaknesses? As Irene Guijt states building capacity requires identifying which stakeholder group requires what abilities at what level (Guijt, 2007, p. 151) Community Capacity Building CCB is the increase in community groups abilities to define, assess, analyze, and act on any matter that is important to them (Gibbon, Labonte and Laverack 2002). Also, the capacity of a group depends on the resource opportunities or constraints (political, ecological, and environmental), and the conditions in which people and the community live (Gibbon, Labonte and Laverack 2002). It is important to understand that community capacity is neither seen as a means nor as an end, rather it is viewed as both. It does not substitute for program goals or objectives, but it creates a separate set of objectives that run parallel to those specific programs. This is called a parallel track approach in which community capacity is strengthened at each stage of the project. (Laverack 2005). Building community capacity is a central and shared concern for funding agencies, implementing organizations and communities because it enables the development, implementation, and maintenance of effective community -based projects (Goodman, et al. 1998). The three key elements of CCB are pluralism, participation, and selection (Innes and Booher 2003). Pluralism ensures that different voices from different positions and backgrounds


43 are involved in the deliberation and implementation of every action; participation is vital to understand under what circumstances the stakeholders communicate with each other, the frequency, the level of trust and how social capital is considered in the program (Innes and Booher 2003). Finally, it is important to ensure that there are ways to select the diverse opportunities and ideas that have been generated. This is essential in understanding that the community can ask why1 in order to gather information and make a decision that benefits its members (Gibbon, Labonte and Laverack 2002). According to Gibbon, Labonte, and Laverack (2002), nine domains shape capacity building in a community (see figure 4-1): Figure 4-1. Community Capacity Domains. Source: Gibbon, Labonte and Laverack 2002. 1 The ability of the community to critical assess the social, political, economic, and other causes of inequalities is a crucial stage towards developing appropriate personal and social changes strategies. (Gibbon, Labonte and Laverack 2002, 487)


44 The Concepts of Bonding and Bridging Social Capital Systems require an understanding of how community capacity building domains shape the relationships among the people an d institutions, and set the rules for open or closed social systems. Social capital refers to the set of resources that inhere in relationships of trust and cooperation between the people (Warren, Thompson, & Saegert, 2001, p. 1). It is a common good it ensures personal welfare that the individual alone can rarely provide ( i.e., security, public health) and is essential to increase such resources ( trust and cooperation) and to make more effective use of them (Warren, Thompson, & Saegert, 2001). There are three analytical levels at which social capital operates: within communities (Bonding), across communities (Bridging), and through ties with financial and public institutions (Synergy). Bonding Social Capital: strong Social bonds and effective organizations within communities provide the foundation on which poor people can develop the capacity to address the problems of poverty (Warren, Thompson, & Saegert, 2001, p. 8). In other words, bonding social capital describes the internal abilities and organizational skills of communities institutions to collaborate and work together through churches, schools, and small-business associations to achieve common goals. Bridging Social Capital Across communities: Strong local institutions provide the foundation for binding individuals together and directing them toward the pursuit of collective needs and aspirations (Warren, Thompson, & Saegert, 2001). The assumption is that communities that lack external links remain isolated and weak. Bridging is an opportunity to bring greater resources, innovation and opportunities into poor communities, and in the long -run, those bridges might build confidence and collaboration that will strengthen the social fabric of the whole society (Warren, Thompson, & Saegert, 2001).


45 Creating Synergy with Financial and Public Institutions: Local organizations, economic, environmental and political actors, and state institutions work together to produce positive development outcomes (Warren, Thompson, & Saegert, 2001). Such cooperation can flow from social connections; it means that officers from several institu tions share social ties and trust in community people across the public-private divide. Once there is a connection, multi level stakeholders can collaborate and work together towards a goal.


46 CHAPTER 5 CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE FIELD PRACTICUM Figure 5-1. Conceptual framework. Source: Authors elaboration The conceptual framework above (see Figure 5-1) attempts to integrate the experience I had during my field practicum and selected theories and concepts about governance, community capacity building, and learning processes. The framework entails four levels: context and external factors (dark blue), building trust as the most important requirement/condition to enable the development of the program (dark purple), governance (yellow) as the most important path to reduce forest clearing and natural habitat degradation according to the program, and my experience during the field practicum (Green). Also, the technical interventions of the program (light purple) and the final goal of the p rogram (Red) My field practicum focused on the governance part of the framework, particularly how the activities (Leadership school, formal training and training field schools) have helped the


47 communities to strengthen their community capacity domains, soc ial capital, and their impact on fortifying governance. In this framework governance is at the heart of natural resource management; without it, it is impossible to achieve behavioral changes in the people and sustainable processes in the communities (Ostrom, 2009). This assumption explains the relationship between sustainable livelihoods and governance in the framework, where governance is a condition to implement the sustainable livelihoods strategies.


48 CHAPTER 6 METHODOLOGY The approach I employed involved semi-structured interviews and workshops with a sample of program participants from both localities who had participated in Paisajes Conectados for at least six months in capacity building and governance activities and/or as beneficiaries of small grants and other program investments. The approach assumed that people would be able to relate to and recognize the nine domains of the community capacity building (Participation, Leadership, organizational structure, problem assessment, resource mobilization, Asking why, Link with others, Role of outside agents, Programme management) if they had enough information about the program and if the questions and instruments were clear and cultu rally appropriate. I applied these filters to select interviewees and workshop participants. University of Florida professors, Fondo Accin team members and community members revised and tested the questions and commented on workshop activities before field implementation. I conducted the following activities: 1. Documentary review of 3 relevant publications by Fondo Accin under the Community Capacity and Governance Strategy (CCBGS): Lineamientos para el desarrollo rural y amaznico de Caquet (Guidelines for the Rural and Amazonian Development in Caquet): This document is the summary of the development course in which beneficiaries of the program from Cartagena del Chair and Solano participated, as well as representatives of the Caquet local government, Amazonian University, and Caquets womens platform. It describes the themes that are essential to build a sustainable territory from these populations perspective (Governance, Environmental Education, Territory Identity, Sustainability, Food Security and Sovereignty, Communal living, Social Inclusion). It was developed and agreed on by the participants with the facilitation work of Fondo Accin.


49 Agenda comunitaria del Ncleo 2 Cartagena del Chair (Ncleo 2 Community agenda Cartagena del Chair): The document contains the agreed upon guidelines and themes that the area (Ncleo 2) needs to focus on during the post -conflict phase to achieve sustainable development. It was designed by Paisajes Conectados beneficiaries in the region, and leaders from other villages in Ncleo 2 with the facilitation work of Fondo Accin. According to the document, the principles that will guide the zone are: Peace, Rural Development, and Reconciliation. These principles will influence the topics that the community perce ives as important to have an alternative development model in the region (Social and Environmental Strategy, Sustainable Rural Development, Governance, Food Security and Sovereignty, Reconciliation, Womens Participation, Childhood, Youth and Elderlies par ticipation) Ganadera y Deforestacin en Caquet: Estrategia para un desarrollo sostenible. (Cattle raising and deforestation in Caquet: Strategy for sustainable development): This report, prepared by Fondo Accin, Patrimonio Natural and the Earth Innov ation Institute, is a summary of ranching history in Caquet, its main constraints and how the model has resulted in the region becoming one the most deforested areas in Colombia. It also posits alternative actions and strategies, designed with local farmers, to build a more environmentally friendly economic model. 2. Twenty-two semi-structured interviews with program participants (men (65%) and women (35%) between the ages of 21 and 65) in Solano and Cartagena (Annex 1 includes the interview guide). I conducted nine interviews in Cartagena during the Leadership School (May 17-19, 2017). Eleven interviews were conducted in Solano during the delivery of small grants (May 17-21, 2017). I had two additional interviews with the director of the Caquet Womens Platform and with a Professor from the Amazona University. Both have been closely involved with the CCBGS since 2014. The aim of these interviews was to collect background information about the program participants/beneficiaries (home region, ownership of the farm, crops/livestock in the farm, perception about the community where he/she lives), identify the activities related with CCBGS that they recall and why, understand their ideas as to why governance is an important part of the program, the constraints of the program, opportunities for Fondo


50 Accin to improve the CCBGS implementation, recurrent topics/themes in the CCBGSs activities, and the vision/dream they have for Caquet. 3. Two workshops with the participants and beneficiaries of the project in both a reas (Annex 2 has the agenda). One workshop included twenty participants (evenly distributed between men and women, ages 18 to 65) in Solano. Another workshop was conducted with eleven program participants (evenly distributed between men and women, ages 18 to 65) in Cartagena del Chair. (Annex 2 includes the agenda, activities and objectives of the workshops). The workshops objective was to compare the information provided in the interviews with activities that enable the participants to identify program activities in time (timeline) and places (social mapping), and to elicit their perceptions about the CCB domains (spider web representations) in their ncleos and whether Paisajes Conectados has had a role in the strengthening them. None of the workshops were recorded because the participants did not feel comfortable being recorded. 4. I kept extensive field notes during my field practicum. This was important because it helped me to write about my own perceptions, ideas, questions and concerns regarding the activities, as well as think about the preliminary results. Also, it helped me to track the changes in my ideas about the field practicum and the communities. The biggest challenge during my field practicum was to build trust among the farmers to conduct the interviews and workshops. Fondo Accins staff provided me with key support, allowing me to participate in its workshops and activities for the first month of the field practicum. Also, they permitted me to participate in the design and implementation of their workshops. Hence, we co-created some activities to build trust among the farmers and their families. Moreover, Solano and Cartagena del Chair exhibit contextual particularities that made it necessary to conduct workshops activities differently in each community. In Solano, people involved in the project have been working with Paisajes Conectados for a year longer than in Cartagena del Chair. Thus, the information gathered in the workshops in Solano was notably broader and deeper than in Cartagen a de Chair. In Cartagena del Chair most of the participants relied on the people who helped bring the program to the region to make the timeline, and it was not possible to conduct the social mapping activity because participants felt they did not have enough experience or knowledge about the program. Local leaders (women


51 and men) in Solano had helped the program staff to implement the project in the area. In other words, local leaders helped the organization to build trust among the farmers and local stakeholders to make the project work. In Cartagena del Chair, the program only initiated its activities in 2015. Literacy levels in both municipalities were low. At least 60 per cent of the people could not read or write. This impacted the way activities were conducted, language used in the questions for the interviews, and the overall use of language. Activities had to be oral, using pictures, and the words and examples that I used to explain the exercises and during interviews had to be localized and straightforward. Particularly during the spider web exercise, I had to change at least five times the way I read the statement in order to make it understandable for the participants. Nevertheless, this activity was meaningful for the farmers and me as a rese archer because it was the first time in Solano and Cartagena de Chair where the communities thought in a critical way about their strengths and weaknesses as a community. Also, having different spider webs in the exercise (one per core) enabled them to ha ve discussions among themselves and try to understand why they were different. Finally, before departing for Colombia, one of the challenges that I had identified was the apparent underrepresentation of women. When I was in the field, it became one of the biggest challenges, because Caquet has a male-dominated culture which affected: a) the number of women who participated in the interviews and workshops, and b) the quality of participation of the women who did participate in the meetings and workshop they did not talk or participate as much as the men. Moreover, being a woman conducting research was a challenge because some male leaders cast doubt on my experience and skills to carry out the research.


52 CHAPTER 7 ANALYSIS To analyze the data and information I first transcribed the 22 interviews. Then, I used Nvivo, a qualitative data analysis software, to code the following resources: transcriptions, the documents from Fondo Accin, maps, timelines, and field notes. Th e codes or nodes were created based on the literature review and the frequency of the words or ideas, resources mentioned. The following table depicts the nodes, their definition, the number of sources where it was found and the number of times it was coded. Table 7-1. Nodes from the coding process. Source: NVivo Name Description Sources References Activities of the program Activities that people recalled/acknowledged more 34 52 Alternative Caquet Future How people imagine Caquet in 20 years; What do they imagine? How to get there? 19 43 Asking why The ability of the community to critically assess the social, political, economic and other causes of inequalities is a crucial stage towards developing appropriate personal and social change strategies. 7 14 Before Paisajes Conectados How was the region (village, ncleo veredal) before the program? 15 32 Caquet Fear Words, feelings that describe how people in Caquet think they are seen from outsiders. Most frequently related to conflict history. 6 7 Cartagena del Chair Particular conditions of Cartagena del Chair 2 2 Community's Strengths Positive qualities that people acknowledge from their communities 8 13 Concerns for future generations People mention how their children/grandchildren are a driver of change. What land are they going to have? 9 13 Conflict management Words, expressions or comments about peoples conflicts and how they manage them. Themes, actors, tools, information regarding conflict management 7 13


53 Table 7-1. Continued Name Description Sources References FARC roles & influence Different functions and roles that the FARC exerted in Caquet. 9 15 Farms Descriptions of the farms. These descriptions are made by the farmers 14 24 Getting involved in Paisajes Conectados It describes how people knew about the program, and decided to participate in it/ getting involved. 20 25 Governance Why do people believe in Paisajes Conectados work in governance? Opinions and perceptions 11 30 Home region What is the home region of the people? Why did they migrate to Caquet? 13 15 Information and training access Ideas, sentences that people expressed about the need/presences of education (Formal/informal) and training 22 45 Leadership Participation and leadership are closely connected. Leadership requires a strong participant base just as participation requires the direction and structure of strong leadership. Both play an important role in the development of small groups and community organizations 18 44 Learning and lessons from the program People acknowledge what they have learned from the program's activities. 15 52 Link to others Links with people and organizations, including partnerships, coalitions and voluntary alliances between the community and others, can assist the community in addressing its issues 11 23 Literacy level Mentions of the low literacy level of the people in the region. 5 10 Locations Where the program conducted activities? (Municipalities: Florencia, Solano, Cartagena del Chair) or in the Ncleos (Solano and Cartagena (1,2,3)) or in the farms. 19 21


54 Table 7-1. Continued Name Description Sources References Organizational structures Organizational structures in a community include small groups such as committees, and church and youth groups. These are the organizational elements which represent how people come together to socialize and to address their concerns and problems. The existence of and the level at which of these organizations function is crucial to community empowerment. 12 38 Paisajes Conectados goal It describes what people think/perceive/say is the long-term goal of the program 4 4 Participation Participation is basic to community empowerment. Only by participating in small groups or larger organizations can individual community members better define, analyse and act on issues of general concern to the broader community 12 25 Post-conflict Ideas and mentions of the post-conflict scenario in the regions; challenges to implement the peace agreement. 4 9 Problem Assessment Empowerment presumes that the identification of problems, solutions to the problems and actions to resolve the problems are carried out by the community. This process assists communities to develop a sense of self-determination and capacity. 10 22 Program management Program management that empowers the community includes the control by the primary stakeholders over decisions on planning, implementation, evaluation, finances, administration, reporting and conflict resolution. The first step toward program management by the community is to define the roles, responsibilities and line management of all the stakeholders. 7 9 Property of the land Land title (formal, informal)/ownership. 8 9 Ranching Mention to ranching or cattle. 4 9


55 Table 7-1. Continued Name Description Sources References Recommendations for the program and weak points Recommendations and weak points of the program that people acknowledge. 11 24 Resource Mobilization The ability of the community both to mobilize resources from within and to negotiate resources from beyond itself is an important factor in its ability to achieve successes in its efforts. 14 33 Role of the outside agents In a program context, outside agents are often an important link between communities and external resources. Their role is especially important near the beginning of a new program, when the process of building new community momentum may be triggered and nurtured. The outside agent increasingly transforms power relationships between her/himself, outside agencies, and the community, such that the community assumes increasing program authority. 11 20 Strengths of Paisajes Conectados What are the positive things about the activities, methodologies, staff from Paisajes Conectados (Fondo Accin)? 10 27 Women role in the region Ideas, words, perceptions about the role of women in the program and Caquet 13 26 The nodes that were referred to the most were the following: Activities of the program (52) and learning and lessons from the program (52); information and training access (45), leadership (44), and alternative Caquet future (43).


56 CHAPTER 8 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION To understand the complexity of the context and the relationship with the communities, and Paisajes Conectados I developed system diagrams based on the codes and relationships among them. The diagrams below depict the changes in the system since the program arrived in 2013. However, the timelines developed with communities show that the participants only recall the presence of the NGO and the start of the program in 2015. The explanation for this gap is rooted in the two years of building trust among communities, and negotiations with FARC guerrillas to implement the program in the region. The following diagrams (see Diagram 1) describe the relationship among the codes, their influence (negative/positive), the changes of each topic through time (bigger/small circles), and how open/closed the system is depending on the stakeholder (FARC/ National Government and its organizations). Figure 8-1. Conventions of the diagrams Diagram 1


57 Figure 8-2. Diagram 1 The first diagram describes how they system worked when FARC had control over the territory. As the diagram depicts, the system is closed, which represents that the region is isolated. Also, the diagram shows the processes that Paisajes Conectados went through during this time period. The program had to build trust among the communities through meetings with the JACs, local leaders and some FARC commanders. This process was not planned, yet the staff realized it was mandatory to implement the program. In other words, without this process that took two years, it would had been impossible to implement the activities of Paisajes Conectados. Moreover, the programs had to adjust the governance and community capacity building strategy due to the context and particular conditions. A ccording to the interviews with the staff and local team, this process cost money, delays on the execution of the programs, frustration by the people who worked during this time. However, looking back the staff and the communities indicated it was very valuable, because it created the condition to make the program work in the region.


58 For over 30 years, FARC rebels taught us that all things that come from outside represent a threat to take our land and rights away from us. They said that the people from outside wanted information, and nothing good will come from your engagement with th em () Fondo Accin is the first NGO that has challenged the idea that all Caquet communities are rebels and terrorists; they wanted to work with us, to help us to understand how valuable and important we are, through the forest conservation program. They have earned our trust, and they proved that outsiders are not always the bad guys. In 2013, Fondo Accin started a community capacity building and governance strategy (CCBGS) that focused on strengthening skills and abilities relevant to sustainable natural resource management. It also included training individuals to lead and participate in public policy debates on topics such as food security, sustainable rural development, sustainable cattle ranching, gender, and conservation. The conflict has forced communities in Solano and Cartagena del Chair to build local leadership and to empower people to negotiate with legal and illegal armed actors and others. The decision to let Fondo Accin in resulted from a long negotiation be tween community leaders and FARC. Solano participants emphasized how they have stood up for the program and justified their participation albeit facing opposit ion from other families and FARC: Those of us who decided to participate in the program were called nave. They said Fondo A ccin was going to take our farms from us, that they were lying, and they encouraged people to abandon the program. We told them that before this program, nothing had come to Solano, so we had little to lose. Three years later, several families were asking to be part of it. Fondo Accin did not let us down. Meanwhile, in Cartagena del Chair, the process for allowing Paisajes Conectados to come into the region was different. According to the interviews, communit y members made the decision after a long-process of consultation with the local leaders and families of the region


59 about the possibility of working with the NGO. The movement ( FARC) gave us health services, education, helped us to cultivate cacao and coca, and they spent time and a lot of resources helping us to create strong civil organizations; They provided us with knowledge to manage our region, they gave informal rules and rights regarding the land. We decided they (Paisajes Conectados) implemented the program in Cartagena, not FARC. Despite the geographic proximity of Cartagena del Chair and Solano, FARCs exercise of power in both municipalities was quite different. In Solano the relationship was vertical. FARC set the rules and made people follow them through sanctions and social vigilance. In Cartagena, the guerrillas were perceived as the governmentan alternative Statethat provided communities with norms, but also gave them security, training, and education. The outcome of that process was an organizational structure and abilities (Diagram 1 dark blue circle within the yellow circle of social capital) that shaped communities informal rules, committees (political, environmental, social), and participation mechanisms. Those organizational abilities materialized in the Juntas de Accin Comunal (JAC), which are legal, formal organizations, but in Caquet were different because of their close relation with the FARC.2 Although organizational structure is one of the values and strengths these communities have, illiteracy, on the other hand, is the biggest constraint to participate and keep advancing as the some of the interviewees said. Most of the people recognized in the interviews that they do not know how to read or write and described how it makes them feel ashamed. It limits their participation in meetings and access to certain resources like formal education or participation in projects. In the case of the small grants, beneficiaries from Solano recognized that they had to pay somebody to help them write grant proposals, because they had never written one before; 2 Juntas de Accin Comunal is a mechanism of participation that enable people from villages, neighborhoods to organize themselves to promote development projects (Interior Minister, 2017)


60 this, despite the fact that Fondo Accin had conducted a workshop on proposal writing and budgets. This situation shows that training and education could face barriers beyond the programs scope. However, people highly valued all the educational activities of the program, because it gave them an opportunity to learn and overcome some of their fears related to literacy. Field schools, the programs of rural development, and the relationship and knowledge sharing with the technical staff that visits the farms has had a positive impact. Moreover, technical visits to the farms reinforced the idea that community members knowledge and ideas were appropriate and important. In Solano, people mentioned how the staff encouraged a dialogue with the family to discuss activities to carry out on the farm, they did not give orders to people about what to do. In Solano, people mentioned how Paisajes Conectados staff set up a dialogue with the family and they discussed what activities to implement on the farm, as one of the participants said : they do not give us orders about what to do. However, the fear of the department and the literacy levels have affected the participation of women in the region directly. According to program data, most of the participants in Paisajes Conectados are women. This is uncommon in the Caquet male-dominated society and culture, according to the Womens Platform. Women were more willing to join the program, motivated their male partners to participate, and encouraged other women and local organizations to trust Fondo Accin. Most of the male interviewees acknowledged that they did not initial ly believe in the program and its activities; this perception changed when their wives or significant others began receiving materials, small grants, and training in sustainable agriculture, and when they witnessed how women participated readily in program-related design and decision-making. Nonetheless, women who participated in the interviews and workshops acknowledged that it was twice as hard for them to have a leadership position in civic organizations, and when they


61 assume leadership positions, their male partners make them feel less important. To attend a meeting, I have to wake up at 3:00 a.m. and cook breakfast and lunch in advance, because my husband has to work, and he cant do it (prepare food). I have to prepare all my childrens school clothes so they are ready, and travel on horseback for 2 hours. After the meeting, I have to run and try to arrive home before dinner time, said one of the participants in the interview. In addition, ranching is the primary economic activity in Caquet, but pro ductivity is very low because of poor soil quality, lack of credit, technical support, climate information, access to favorable markets and insertion into value chains (Becerra, et al., 2016). Cattle ranching is the primary driver of deforestation in the region (Fondo Accin, 2015). People in the interviews talked about the land as something handed down from their parents or that they bought, yet they acknowledged that talking about it is very co mplex because most of the land was colonized during the second half of the XX century, however, there were few measures to provide peasants with a formal title establishing secure ownership. Also, when FARC controlled the department, there was much displacement and the guerrilla group took control of many farms. Another factor that is important for the context is the origin of the people living in the region. Only three individuals of 22 were born in Caquet. Most of them came from Tolima, Huila, Caldas and Cundinamarca. People identified two causes: a) they came to Caquet when they were kids because their families had been displaced or b) they were attracted by the coca boom in the late 70s and 80s. Therefore, it is possible to suggest that in this diag ram (see Diagram 2) the connection with the territory is weak, hence, they do not feel any responsibility towards it, because they do not own it.


62 Diagram 2 Figure 8-3. Diagram 2 The implementation of the peace agreement has significantly influenced the system. First, FARC had to leave Caquet, and the national government is attempting to reestablish its presence and power in the area through the mechanisms that ensure a post -conflict transition. However, the government does not acknowledge the Juntas de Accin Comunal (JAC) as strong civil, local organizations. Therefore, the system has opened up, but there is a barrier to let the government in. In the diagram 2, the program implements the programmed activities, provides training and information to people (Field schools, leadership schools, formal education training), and facilitates the design of local environmental agreements to preserve the Amazon forest, Agendas Comunitarias (Community vision) and other public policy documents. These activities have an impact on the community that strengthens leadership, resource mobilization and reinforces the importance of community organization. Also, the program has an impact on the context and the ideas that people hold about their community. Finally, the exposure to program activities and changes in context creates a new component: concerns about future generations. Deforestation: During the interviews and workshops, people mentioned several times that, in todays transition phase (from conflict to post-conflict), they do not know what to do


63 because previously they followed the manuals and norms that FARC had established, but now, with the peace agreement and FARC leaving the zone, who will set the rules? What norms should they follow? Before the peace agreement was signed, communities had environmental manuals to manage natural resources. Communities had limits about how many hectares of forest they could harvest per year, and how many hectares they must preserve on their farms. In May 2017, El Tiempo, the most important newspaper in Colombia, wrote in its editorial page Not until this year (2017) has the national government had to deal with the problem of deforestation in the Colombian Amazon () For decades FARC managed and balanced the relationship among coca, cattle, colonos and the access to the natural resources (El Tiempo, 2017). However, the post conflict is pushing deforestation rates up in the region. According to th e Environmental Studies, Meteorology and Hydrology Institute, 33% or 1,400,000 hectares of forest have disappeared in Caquet since the peace agreement was signed (El Espectador, 2017). At least 8 interviewees said that when FA RC left the territory as a result of the peace agreement, many farmers believed that they did not have to follow the rules anymore and cut more trees than was permitted. This situation has had a negative impact on deforestation rates and has increased tensions among the people who want to keep the rules they inherited from FARCs era and those who do not. The following maps (see Maps 5 8) illustrate where the project works, and the hotspots of deforestation in the Colombian Amazon. Although, it is not pos sible to conclude that the project has reduced or stopped deforestation rates in the areas where it operates, the maps draw attention to the fact that the specific areas where deforestation is growing differ from those where Paisajes Conectados is working. As other scholars have described, the causality between a program and the outcomes is hard to prove. However, if the program had focused its activities


64 on governance and strengthening local institutions before conducting conservation activities, it would have been more likely that the projects would have achieve its conservation goals. In other words, it is possible to assert the influence of the program on the people who use the natural resources. Elinor Ostrom (2009), Economic Nobel Prize winner, contends that groups with stronger social capital will have stronger trust in each other and thus face lower costs in reaching agreements and monitoring each other. A group of users will more likely self -organize to protect a natural resource when it is very important to their livelihoods and they attach high value to its sustainability. Finally, groups with autonomy at the collective choice level to develop their own rules to manage the resource will face lower costs in doing so (Ostrom, 2009). Hayes, Murtinho, and Wolff (2017) conducted research in 399 households in Ecuador to (a) identify if a PES program that had been implemented in eleven rural communities ha d produced changes in land-use, (b) assess the degree to which household characteristics and communal governance conditions had driven land-use behavior, and (c) explore the interplay between PES and communal resource management institutions. The assumption behind the research was to understand if economic incentives are appropriated tools for conservation. Among other outcomes, the authors found that farmers do not make pure economic decisions; factors such as self -organization and enforcing communal resou rce management rules were key to reducing the number of households grazing livestock in the Parmo 3. Also, in communities with strong institutions, the contracts that the communities signed with the PES program became rules that were implemented and reinf orced. In Cambodia, Clemens et al. (2010) analyzed three 3 The pramos provide an environmental service to more than 100 million people. They possess the greatest botanical biopersity of all high altitude ecosystems: 60% of their plant species are endemic (that is, they are found only in the pramos). Their formation is a sl ow and steady process that has taken hundreds of thousands of years (Lozano, 2013)


65 payments for the protection of biodiversity programs (a type of PES) and found similar outcomes. Authors assert that incentive-based mechanisms that require local communities to build their governance institutions gradually had a greater long-term effective in promoting collective natural resource management than more direct individual cash -payment for individual actions (Clements, et al., 2010) Figure 8-4. Emerging Deforestation hotspots in the Colombian Amazon 20012015. Source: Monitoring of Andean Amazon Project, 2017.


66 Figure 8-5. Deforestation areas in Caquet. Source: Google Earth. Lighter green is the areas where the forest has lost most of its coverage


67 Figure 8-6. Areas where the project works in Solano and Cartagena del Chair. Source: Google Earth (November 2017) and authors elaboration. The yellow line depicts the areas where the project works. (A) Solano, (B) Cartagena del Chair A B


68 Figure 8-7. Store in Mononguete, Solano. Photo 1 by: Maria M Fontecha, 2017. Food security: Food security was one of the topics that came out in three interviews and in the Guidelines to the Rural and Amazonian Development in Caquet a nd Ncleo 2 Community agenda Cartagena del Chair documents. Ranching and coca cultivation have disrupted the food production system. In side events and in informal conversations with people in Solano and Cartagena del Chair, they complained about high food prices (rice and vegetables) and the lack of land to cultivate crops; others talked about how expensive it was to transport food by river and the lack of inputs (seeds, fertilizers, tools). When I arrived in Mononguete (Solano), I was shocked because there were more candies and pre-packaged food than vegetables in the store the only vegetables were two cucumbers (see Photo X). On the other hand, people acknowledged that training and education activities have helped them to value their territory and they indicated that they have a new relationship with their land. In other words, when people in Solano and Cartagena del Chair felt the land was theirs, they began imagining an alternative future for their farms and a desire to leave something different to my kids.


69 This change has enabled Paisajes Conectados to implement the technical activities of the program and improve families livelihoods. Moreover, s ecure land tenure creates a feeling of belonging rather than being an outsider in the region and makes people eager to work for Caquet; long-term visions of a peaceful region appear, the words and speech change, and people are more willing to collaborate. Some comments were: I want my farm to be a model for the community. Thanks to the program Im aware of the richness of the region, and I feel I can do something great with my little piece of land, We are important. We matter, I learned that in the leadership school. I want my kids to know their mom did things differently. Now I have more trees on the farm, My wife asked me to join the program, I didnt want to because I thought they (Fondo Accin) just wanted to take the land from us, but I was wrong. They gave us materials and training and here we are, for the first time trying to do things differently. The results are consistent with the findings of other scholars. Matilainen et al (2017) analyze the concept of ownership in a nature tourism area in Norway. They concluded that the ways the psychological ownership of stakeholder groups is constructed and taken into account in co operative relationships are of utmost importance for the sustainability and success of the interplay among stakeholders, because they feel they own the land in a psychological realm and they feel responsible for what happens with it. When I asked about what triggered the change in terms of ownership and valuing the land from a different framework, they mentioned two ideas : the transformation of the idea of leadership, and the opportunity to overcome fears (fear to assume a leadership position, to talk in public, to be seen as a FARC member or violent). Positive leadership may have a huge impact on how the projects and programs work in the field (Arnold & Bartels, 2014). The information provided from the workshops and interviews showed that the activities related to leadership from


70 a positive and learning perspective have had a meaningful impact on pe oples idea of leadership. The story of Carlos is revealing. He is a 25 year-old man, from Cartagena del Chair who told me during the interview that he decided to put his name forward for the presidency of the Juntas de Accin Comunal (JAC) because he was inspired by the leadership school in which he participated. Carlos believed that assuming a leadership position could help his community to access resources from the local and national governments. Moreover, he felt he had the tools to defeat his fear to be visible in the community and to help others. Also, two of the women who participated in the workshops mentioned that the leadership program had helped them to find a voice and to speak up in the meetings of their communities. I am not perfect, but when I go to the meeting in my Ncleo, I try to say the ideas clearly. I accept my weaknesses, but do not let them control me. Nevertheless, participants of the workshops and interviews asserted that leadership training should be more frequent, it should use examples from their daily work, and provide more hours per training. Diagram 3 Figure 8-8. Diagram 3


71 The third diagram depicts that the driver for behavior change in the communities is the concern about the future and the representation of it as an alternative shared vision of Caquet and their future. During the interviews, women and men mentioned severa l times how they want to do things different for their children. They expected to change the deforestation patterns and ensure water and sustainable farms to their sons and daughters, but also, they shared the vision of having a region free of violence and more access to health, education, technology, and market opportunities. That shared vision was gathered and written in public policy documents, and the next step is to facilitate that the local government include those in the political agenda, in order to create a virtuous circle that promote the activities and changes people in the field are experiencing. The difference between diagrams 2 and 3 is that in diagram 2 the government is forced to look for new ways to dialogue with local communities, yet res istance remains. In diagram 3, the program produces knowledge based on the implementation of the program that might be useful to facilitate the dialogue between government and JAC. Also, the program uses the lessons of implementing the program and tries to use the knowledge to plan future activities; public policy agreements are scaled from the local level to the regional government to create synergies from this stage that could support the efforts of the communities and the program. Furthermore, it can be a path to alleviate local communities resistance and to open the system. Finally, the domains of community capacity appear, but they have not been fully materialized in the communities. When community members answered the question about Caquets altern ative futures, most of them mentioned ranching as part of their dream but acknowledged the shortcomings of the current model and the need to make it more sustainable, protecting forest and water resources. Furthermore, Fondo Accins ranching document expr esses the vision that farmers


72 have regarding the ranching activity in the regions. Among other issues, the documents state the following: that the cattle model in Caquet will be consistent with environmental goals; it will have solid unions and cooperative groups to improve milk, cheese and meat commercialization and people will have equal and fair distribution of economic returns. One of the interviewees said I dreamed about a farm where my family and I take care of the environment. We connect amazon forest patches with our neighbors. Then, animals will have shade, and we will have more milk and meat and maybe we can cultivate our food. Finally, the workshops and interviews provided information about what people identified as weak points and recommendations for the governance and community capacity building strategy. First, people think that when the program ends there will be few mechanisms and formal training to replicate the experience in other areas, and the positive results gained could disappear. Also, they perceive that their time is not valued because sometimes they attend meetings or activities, but for various reasons the NGO does not tell them in advance that the activity was cancelled, and they lose a day of work. Finally, some people indicat ed that the program always contracts the best hotels, catering and transportation services, and there might be the risk that other local programs cant afford the same services, and as a result, people may refuse to participate. Community capacity domains: The following spider web diagram represents the perceptions of the people regarding community capacity domains in their communities. People were divided by village or vereda and they had to score from 1 to 5 how much they agree with each statement I read. These statements were adapted from the community capacity domains framework, the statements used are above in photo 2.


73 Figure 8-9. Statements adapted for spider web elaboration. 2017. Photo 2 : Maria M Fontecha, June 2017 Spider web representations elaborated by workshop participants revealed their perceptions in nine domains established in the literature review (Solano includes three nodes: Herich (1), Mononguete (2) and Las Mercedes (3); Cartagena includes three local groups).


74 Figure 8-10. Spider web representations in Solano and Cartagena del Chair. They depicts the perceptions of the communities regarding Community Capacity Domains. Participation, leadership, and resource mobilization (time, work force, commitments with the program) are strong attributes of both communities. Solano participants identified strengths in participation, leadership, program management and resource mobilization. Their weakest


75 dimensions are the ability to work with others (external and internal actors) and the ca pacity to formulate questions (asking why). The testimonies and workshop revealed two possible reasons for the first finding. For years, FARC exercised several roles: it was an environmental authority; it administered justice and served as referee in eve ryday issues (divorce, thefts, homicides, etc.); it decided on social and economic matters, thus leaving little space for autonomy or collaboration. They also argued that a culture of mistrust has prevented them from working with others. On the asking why dimension, participants recognized that although they inquired about benefits and subsidies offered by projects, they never went beyond these questions to delve into the political, social or environmental consequences of these projects. In Cartagena del Chair, the results were different. The strongest dimensions were organizational structure, problem assessment capacities, leadership skills and the disposition and ability to collaborate with others. Participants argued that the strongest dimensions have resulted from the political and social work of FARC with the Juntas de Accin Comunal (JAC), the main authority at the communal level. However, the differences between the representatives of the community and the others are interesting. During the discuss ions of the results they justified their scores taking into account the absence of training in leadership, building confidence and self esteem. However, comparing the spider webs developed by them and the answers from the interviews, the assessment of community capacity domains changes. The strongest domains after conducting this comparison are: leadership, resource mobilization and organizational structures; Strong, but with opportunities to improve: problem assessment, participation, role of the outside agents and link with others, and the weakest are Asking why and program management. Participation was a weak point in the interviews because people feel that several groups were


76 marginalized from discussions: women and children. Also, to communicate ess ential information in the ncleos, the main channel is meetings, yet not all the families go to the assemblies or the information is communicated in a non -effective way, generating information asymmetries. Table 1 shows the final scores that communities give to each statement.


77 Table 8-1. Communities scores regarding Community Capacity Domains. Participation Leadership Organizational structure Problem assessment Resource mobilization Asking why Link with others Role of the outside agents Program management Solano Village 1 5 5 3 2 5 3 3 0.5 5 Village 2 4 5 3 2 5 2 0.5 4 5 Village 3 5 5 3.5 1 5 0.5 3.5 2.5 5 Cartagena del Chair Village 1 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 3.5 Village 2 2.5 1.5 3.5 5 3 3.5 3 5 1.5 Village 3 4 4 4 3.5 5 3 3.5 4 3.5


78 Comparing the two communities under a bonding and bridging framework it is possible to contend that post-conflict is contesting the organizational structure strengths in Cartagena del Chair because they are rooted in conflict and FARC leadership in the ar ea. The traditional mechanisms and norms functioned during the conflict, but the new scenario challenges core assumptions such as the legitimacy of the rules and JACs; post-conflict opens alternatives and communities have the opportunity to create other ru les and to renew the institutions. However, this process might create conflicts among the communities because it is no longer clear who will make the final decision about what path to follow. In order words, the bonding capital in Cartagena del Chair is being contested by a driver change (peace agreement), however, relying on other community capacity domains such as leadership, links with others and resource mobilization it is possible to reach agreements about which institutions are more appropriate for the new context. In Solano, the bonding capital has been weak. Few organizations have the networking process in the community. Therefore, the post-conflict might be the first time that several stakeholders gather and share knowledge. Also, with help from NGOs as Fondo Accin, it is possible to establish strong local institutions that broaden their community capacity domains. The spider webs depict which abilities people acknowledge are lacking; hence these findings can serve as a guide to design future activities that address weaknesses and strengthen the CCGS. One important finding of my field practicum research is that both communities lack bridging social capital. Because of their history, legacy of mistrust and the isolation, the Cartagena del Chair and Solano communities are weak regarding creating and maintaining networks with others (communities, organizations). Lacking bridging social capital in a post conflict scenario influences communities welfare in a negative way because it isolates them


79 more and reduces the chances to find partners, collaborate and improve their social capital. Also, it has an impact on the opportunity to create synergies with various multi -level stakeholders. How do bonding/bridging social capital affect the governance in the region? Has the CCBGS helped to strengthen governance in Solano and Cartagena del Chair, and how does it relate to the long-term goals of the project? Considering the results and information collected from the field practicum one might argue that social capital affects governance in the region. Paul Lederach (1997) contends that reconciliation in peace processes must envision the future in a way that enhances interdependence Opportunity must, therefore, be given for people to look forward and envision their shared future () Reconciliation, represents a place, the point of encounter where concerns about both the past and the future can be met ( ) (Lederach 1997, 27). Fondo Accin, through Paisajes Conectados, has facilitated spaces for dialogue; information is shared, and people believe their knowledge and experience matters and is considered decision-making. This process has enabled people who participate in the program to agree that the forest is more than trees The forest is life, nothing exists after it, said one of the participants, and they can develop alternative income sources to preserve it. Regarding the skills or domains Caquet communities require to manage forests under a post-conflict scenario, it is important to consider that assuming a leading and autonomous role is a long-term process and that these communities, because of historical precedents, have little experience. Therefore, they need time, experience and knowledge to exercise their power t o make decisions about how to manage their natural resources in a sustainable way, such as those described in the shared vision. It would be counter -productive to ask them to take the leading role without the necessary preparation. As Agrawal and Gibson ( 1999) stated Local


80 communities often do not possess the material or political clout to fend off invasive actions by outsiders. Indeed, intracommunity conflicts themselves may need the arbitration or enforcement efforts of formal government agencies (Agrawal & Gibson, 1999). For the transition phase, the local government and Fondo Accin must continue to strengthen community capacity domains, particularly the ones the the assessment has revealed as weaker until they can create and enforce rules that allow them to manage their natural resources. Meanwhile, local government should set the rules and processes for managing local natural resources, considering peoples visions and knowledge about the territory, and Fondo Accin can be the facilitator between the stakeholders. Participatory approaches and positive leadership, such as those implemented and fostered by Paisajes Conectados, could be extended further or scaled up in the region.


81 CHAPTER 9 CONCLUSIONS In a post-conflict scenario, in a region where the conflict shaped the lives of every person and their relationship with the environment, what social capacities do Caquets society need in order to manage their natural resources under a peace agreement an d sustainability framework? The results of my field practicum show that changes in Solano and Cartagena del Chairs systems have been the product of outside influences However, the social capital, mindset transformations and knowledge produced by the communities through Paisajes Conectados could provide a roadmap to help communities inform outsiders about their history and future vision for Caquet. Farmers visions are related to fostering peace and protecting the forests and environment to ensure future generations have a good place to live. To implement the peace agreement, the government should listen to community representatives and take full advantage of the project outcomes in the environmental realm, and acknowledge the communities bonding social capital, which is represented in community capacity domains. Also, efforts should be made to develop policies and programs that help communities to strength en their conservation efforts and bolster community capacity to generate linkages among communities, and to develop more robust organizations and synergies that benefit the country. These measures are important in a country as complex as Colombia because it entails a transformation of how stakeholders at different levels collaborate and work together to preserve natural resources in the Amazonian region. Power relationships should be more horizontal, meaning that the government should use bottom-up approaches and train its human resources to work more effectively in cross-scale scenarios. In other words, to acknowledge the processes and abilities the community lived and honed during the conflict phase to build a new region. As Sirolli (2012) said: Shut up and listen. He contends that aid projects and programs fail because


82 frequently implementation agencies, NGOs and/or governments do not listen, or even attempt to understand the communities they seek to impact and their challenging contexts; therefore processes encouraged by these projects and their outcomes are not sustainable over time (Sirolli, 2012). Caquet communities, the government, and Fondo Accin have an opportunity to renew the institutions that functioned before the peace agreements, but they must learn how to collaborate more effectively, build on local capacity and strength en communities bridging social capital and synergies to support the creation of a new set of rules institutions that will support communities in their efforts to achieve their vision and goals However, communities need additional support from other multi-level stakeholders (national/local government, JACs, NGOs) in the transition to peacetime. Assuming leadership roles and making decisions related to natural resources management requires capacities, information and experience the communities currently lack. Provision of appropriate technical support, education, and access to information, as the results suggest, might be the most effective path to follow. Further investigation should focus on determining which communication channels and strategies among multi-level stakeholders in the region hold the most promise and how best to use them to leverage greater impact of local knowledge.


83 CHAPTER 10 RECOMMENDATIONS The CCBGS should focus on education and how information flows to and among the stakeholders. Moreover, it should strengthen communication between communities with other regions, local and national government, donors and private companies. Fondo Accin could fine-tune the community capacity building strategy to include training and skill development in conflict resolution, teamwork/collaboration techniques and practices, trust building and a critical perspective (involving the asking why dimension). These skills and capacities should help communities to deal with the changes and new power relations that are emerging under the post-conflict scenario and increasing their collaborative planning performance. Furthermore, by including these topics in its capacity building strategy, Fondo Accin would have a stronger ground for fostering good governance arrangements. The most likely scenario suggests that Fondo Accin should consolidate its role as a bridge and a facilitator between the government and the Solano and Cartagena community-based organizations. The NGO has an important opportunity to strengthen its presence in the territory through work with women and local leaders. Women have helped the Paisa jes Conectados program to maintain a presence and operate in both municipalities. Hence, the NGO could work more closely with them in capacity building activities to empower women of the region to lead projects in their communities and break down or counter gender inequality and bias. Furthermore, leaders in the region feel that Paisajes Conectados and the Leadership School has given them the opportunity to change the idea that leaders are synonymous with terrorists. The organization should communicate more effectively the long-term transformations that communities are achieving. Although changes in behaviors are slow, especially in a complex context like Caquet, the NGO has impacted the communities abilities to manage their forests in positive ways. The challenge is to design a communication methodology that enables Fondo Accin to convey lessons learned to multi-level stakeholders, particularly the donor and the government. The communication should focus on the process rather than outcomes.


84 CHAPTER 11 THE BIG PICTURE How does the field practicum and its results align with the national and international sustainable development agenda? Before the peace agreement was signed, several Colombian scholars asserted that the real test of the peace process was to implement the provisions agreed upon in the peace agreement. The challenge of a post-conflict scenario is the lack of information about the best options to follow. In other words, implementing the peace agreement in Colombia is, as stated before, to walk in darkness with no lights. However, there are some candles on the road. The field practicum and its lessons are part of the first efforts to conduct academic research on communities in former conflict zones. These communities have faced years of war, under isolating conditions. Some such as Cartagena del Chair were successful in strengthening internal (bonding) social capital. How they use this social capital will be important to ensure that during the post-conflict period local communities will be able to more effectively manage their natural resources. Thus, the field practicum report provides some important findings that can help decision makers to better understand the local context and how to intervene in the system. Finally, the field practicum is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular these six: Peace, Justice and strong institutions. Life on land. Reduced Inequalities Gender Equality Quality education No poverty It is important to stat e that according to the United Nations, peace is one of the two core goals, because without peace it is impossible to have a sustainable development agenda in any


85 country. The following graphic shows to what extent the field practicum, and its results provide relevant information to support Colombias efforts to achieve these goals. Figure 11-1. Field practicum and it relationship with the SDGs. Source: United Nations and Authors elaboration


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93 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Ms. Fontecha, a journalist with a minor in history (2012), is currently a Masters candidate at the University of Florida. Her graduate work has focused on communicating science and sustainable development and advancing thinking regarding collaboration in post-conflict scenarios. She writes for international and Colombian media.