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Cablegate: Afro-Colombian and Indigenous Earmark - Initial Plan For

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RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #2200/01 1711636
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 191636Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3211
INFO RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 8251
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 0573
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ JUN LIMA 6275
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 6945
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA 1881

UNCLAS BOGOTA 002200

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV EAID EAGR PTER SNAR CO
SUBJECT: AFRO-COLOMBIAN AND INDIGENOUS EARMARK - INITIAL PLAN FOR
IMPLEMENTATION

1. (U) Summary. A congressional soft earmark was listed in FY08
legislation directing the United States Agency for International
Development (USAID) Colombia to implement economic development
activities in Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities. After
extensive consultations with the GOC, USAID decided a
regionally-focused strategy would best achieve lasting economic
impact in targeted communities. Three strategic areas of the
country were selected: Narino, Central Cauca, and the municipality
of Buenaventura. Next steps include consultations with regional
leaders and the communities to ensure local ownership. USAID
Mission management plans to brief key congressional staff and
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) on the strategic use of the
earmark. End summary.

2. (U) The FY08 House Appropriations bill for State and Foreign
operations contains a directive for USAID Colombia to use no less
than US$15 million for "economic development activities in
Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities, in consultation with
Afro-Colombian and indigenous authorities and community members."

3. (U) In order to clarify the scope and limits of the directive,
the Mission consulted with congressional staffers in March and held
further discussions with the GOC in April. The scope was also
developed through informal consultations with various civil society
groups. Activities will be geographically focused to maximize
impact, with special emphasis on the consultative process to foster
ownership, sustainability, and participation by targeted
communities.

Programmatic Focus
------------------

4. (U) Due to the limitations of a one-year earmark and the need to
rapidly initiate activities, the Mission decided to launch new
Afro-Colombian and indigenous activities under the MIDAS and ADAM
alternative development programs. The consultation phase is
critical to ensure activities respond to community needs and are
focused on economic impact.

5. (U) In order to effectively respond to both rural and urban
Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities, two different approaches
will be integrated:

Urban: This approach focuses on population centers and is intended
to create "growth poles" to link economic development and basic
services around larger urban centers, such as Buenaventura. Pending
consultations with the communities, activities may include increased
access to microfinance, firm-level support to small and medium-sized
enterprises (SMEs) and business development services (BDS), as well
as technical assistance to develop and implement basic economic
development plans and policies.

Rural: This approach is modeled after a community consultation
strategy currently being employed in 71 municipalities. Rural
initiatives will focus on generating economic opportunities in
targeted clusters, creating market linkages, and local capacity
building to enable communities to respond to changing market
conditions.

Geographic Focus
----------------

7. (U) The Mission identified the target regions based on
geographic locations of Afro-Colombian and/or indigenous
communities, socio-economic conditions, presence of illegal armed
groups and/or illicit crops, an overall presence of illegality,
consultations and prioritization with the Presidential Agency for
Social Action and International Cooperation (Accion Social).
Programs will initially focus on Narino (primarily Afro-Colombian),
Central Cauca (Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities), and
Buenaventura (primarily Afro-Colombian). Currently, Narino is the
GOC's top priority with strong regional leadership in both Narino
and Cauca. Our programs will take advantage of the departmental
plans already in place. Since the Department of Choco currently
receives more than US$5 million of USAID assistance, the GOC and
USAID decided Choco should be targeted during a second phase if
additional resources become available in FY09 and once the
approaches have been tested.

Support to the Afro-Colombian Poplulation
-----------------------------------------

8. (U) On May 19, the GOC launched the inter-sectorial commission
for the advancement of the Afro-Colombian population. The purpose of
the commission is to evaluate the living standards of
Afro-Colombians and issue recommendations to the GOC to design

affirmative action-like public policies. At the request of the
Vice-President's office and the Ministry of the Interior and
Justice, USAID will assist the commission in the implementation of
its operational plan by supporting a series of outreach events, as
well workshops with Afro-Colombian communities throughout the
country. The commission also requested USAID support for an
assessment of Afro-Colombian living conditions to be conducted by
Universidad de los Andes. USAID is considering this and other
requests.

BROWNFIELD

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