Cablegate: International Donors Signal Future Support for Consolidation


DE RUEHBO #0097/01 0271936
R 271936Z JAN 10

C O N F I D E N T I A L BOGOTA 000097


E.O. 12958: DECL: 2020/01/27
SUBJECT: International Donors Signal Future Support for Consolidation
of Security Gains


CLASSIFIED BY: Mark Wells, Political Counselor; REASON: 1.4(B), (D)



1. (C) On January 19, the Embassy's Colombia Strategic Development
Initiative (CSDI) working group hosted officials from the Dutch,
German and Canadian Embassies to discuss CSDI, Colombia's National
Consolidation Plan (PNC) and the status of support from those
Embassies for the PNC. The chief concerns expressed by donors were
perceptions of a lack of GOC leadership and home government and NGO
fears that consolidation is militarized. Despite this, the Dutch
Embassy continues to support the model and has won the support of
its MFA and NGO Pax Christi. The German Embassy supports the PNC
but needs to convince a reluctant Berlin. The Canadians are split,
with the Canadian Development Agency (CDA) reluctant but the MFA
willing to engage, albeit with concern about the GOC's commitment
to the PNC. Overall, these officials sent positive signals about
future work in consolidation zones, reserving concerns mostly to
implementation. End Summary.

CSDI Working Group Engages International Donors

--------------------------------------------- --

2. (C) In an effort to encourage other governments that have
already committed some resources to the PNC, the CSDI working group
invited the Dutch, German, and Canadian embassies to share
experiences in helping the GOC to implement the PNC's
whole-of-government approach on January 19. Pushback from NGOs and
home governments has made international donors reluctant to support
the PNC due to concerns about its reputed military emphasis.
Foreign embassy officials explained their views on the Colombian
Government's (GOC) PNC and described where their governments stand
in supporting it.

Donors' Chief Concerns: Lack of GOC

Leadership and Fears of Militarization


3. (C) No one questioned the overall whole-of-government concept or
the merits of the PNC. The embassy officials seemed convinced that
the PNC model of concentrating resources into the most troubled
areas is the correct solution to help Colombia finish its
transition from near-failed state to stable democracy. However,
all agreed that the situation was precarious unless improvements in
implementation are made. On GOC leadership, the head of the CDA
said that Accion Social -- the lead civilian agency for the PNC --
was "showing all its warts" through its guidance of the
consolidation process. The senior official of the Dutch
Development Corporation said that although Accion Social was not
suited for a leadership role, there was no alternative and it was
necessary to continue encouraging it. The Canadian Political
Counselor expressed concern about key personnel being stretched
thin, given that PNC leaders all had "day jobs." She offered
support to keep the political pressure on the GOC to improve the
situation, complaining that Accion Social had failed to
strategically engage donor embassies ever since consolidation
became state policy through Presidential Decree 001 of 2009. The
CSDI working group told the donors about Post's engagement plan to
focus GOC leadership on consolidation and press for needed
structural reforms.

4. (C) On fears that the PNC is militarized, the CSDI working group
shared that one of the key lessons learned from Plan Colombia is
that security is a necessary prerequisite for other interventions,
otherwise development is unsustainable and ends up benefitting
illegal armed groups (IAGs). Consequently, the initial phases of
consolidation have appeared militarized to outsiders as the armed
forces secure territory, and civilian agencies and the police lag
behind security advances. Additionally, GOC outreach has been
wanting - the GOC has done a poor job of explaining the PNC and its
emphasis on establishing civilian institutions, rule-of-law and
socio-economic development. The CSDI working group offered donors
further engagement (e.g., site visits) to demonstrate the PNC's
civilian aspects and progress, in order to help dispel false
perceptions of militarization.

Dutch Fully On-Board, Moving to Next Phase


5. (C) Despite the above challenges, the Dutch continue to believe
in the PNC concept and are focused on implementation. They are
unlikely to be involved on a national level and choose to focus on
the Plan for the Integrated Consolidation of the Macarena (PCIM),
as there is enough work for them there and significant but
manageable challenges require further attention. They are in
discussions with their MFA and have convinced their Minister to
move onto the second phase of support which would mean more funds,
more political attention and more years of involvement in the PCIM.
One of their goals is to broaden their assistance from food
security and income generation to land issues, civil society/NGO
strengthening and private sector economic development.

6. (C) The Dutch are active in recruiting partners and socializing
the PNC concept. They have helped convince the NGO Pax Christi to
support the PCIM which, according to Dutch officers, is a key
victory because Pax Christi is their lead NGO in Colombia and
others will follow its lead. They are also working to convince
local NGOs to take a second look at consolidation, including the
thinktankCorporacion Nuevo Arco Iris (CNAI). The Dutch also want
to increase the human rights focus in the PNC and have approached
the UN about a possible role in this regard.

German Embassy Lobbying Home Government on PNC's Merits

--------------------------------------------- ---------

7. (C) The German chief of development said the German Embassy is
convinced that the PCIM model is the best solution in Colombia.
However, Berlin has a different view and is being pressured by NGOs
and interest groups about the PNC's perceived militarization. The
German Embassy is working on three levels of support to the PNC.
The Embassy will move forward on microprojects with a maximum cost
of 10-15 thousand euros. Although small, these will provide a
positive political signal. Secondly, the German Embassy will try
to convince its MFA to release MFA-controlled funds for food
security and alternative development totaling 500,000 euros per
year. The final level of assistance is controlled by the Ministry
of Economic Cooperation, which according to the German official
would be a challenge since it has a different perception of
Colombia. A positive decision would mean a 3-6 year project in the
3-6 million euro range. As part of their lobbying, the Germans
will be receiving a delegation later this year to show them the
Colombian context and risks and rewards of commitment. Another
issue for the Germans is the security of their experts in the

Canadians Split on PNC


8. (C) The Canadian Head of Aid said that with its $25 million
budget, the CDA is only concerned with short-term results in
Colombia focused on vulnerable populations and thus does not have
the "strategic responsibility" to ensure the stability of the
Colombian state. The CDA is reluctant to directly support the GOC
and thus link its assistance to security and stability. The
official conceded that CDA should view its efforts in a "do no
harm" principle and should try not to indirectly support IAGs,
adding that his government was not neutral but wholly supported the
Colombian state. The CDA official said Canada has not made a
decision on the PNC, but in rare direct support to the GOC, is
planning to give the National Learning Service (SENA) $1 million
per year. The official believes this will have a strategic link
with the PNC based on education, a sector which has been largely
ignored as a focus area in consolidation thus far.

9. (C) The Canadian Political Counselor said that a Minister has
made a public statement in support of the PNC, and though it was
just a statement, there are no indications that the Canadian
government does not stand behind it. The officer said that her
political section could access some funds ($5 million a year) that
could be available from the MFA's Global Peace and Security fund.
It would be a MFA decision and the MFA does not have the same
concerns about the PNC as does the CDA. The PNC resonates with the
mandate of the fund -- stability and reconstruction -- and the fund
has been used in Afghanistan, Haiti, Uganda, and Sudan. It would
be low-profile support and complement CDA efforts but with
different objectives. Possible support includes working along the
border with Ecuador or building capacity with the Prosecutor
General (Fiscalia) or Inspector General (Procuraduria). Canada
also has new regional funds ($15 million per year) for anti-crime
capacity building, although Colombia would have to compete with
other nations. The officer's primary concern is that the GOC
appears not to have fully bought into its own plan and is thus
hesitant to push for the funds.

GOC Makes Strides Towards Progress


10. (C) Coincidentally, the GOC made some strides towards
addressing the donors' criticisms later the same day at a periodic
coordination meeting of the Center for the Coordination of
Integrated Action (CCAI). Participants raised the issue of
lingering perception that the consolidation plan is military-led,
as well as the need to deepen outreach. Diego Molano, head of
Accion Social and PNC lead, said he was seeking a date in the first
two weeks of February to hold a PNC discussion with donors. Also,
a representative from the National Planning Department (DNP)
described a GOC interagency exercise to identify the entirety of
government projects and programming in consolidation zones to
better understand and manage them. In addition, Molano approved
Accion Social's strategic objectives for 2010, with elements
specifically targeting consolidation zones including dedicated food
security and income generation program budgets, incorporating
19,000 new families into a voluntary eradication assistance
program, and five new land restitution projects.



11. (C) Donors' concerns about the PNC echo our own, but like us,
donors believe the challenges are not insurmountable and sent
positive signals about future work in consolidation zones. The
actions taken by Accion Social later in the day demonstrate that it
is determined to improve implementation and channel the resources
within its control towards the PNC, though much work remains. If
Post and GOC engagement lead to more donors' (such as the Dutch and
Germans) and NGOs' (such as Pax Christi) endorsement, inaccurate
perceptions that the PNC is militarized should be mitigated. The
Canadians, though reluctant, left a window open for engagement and
whether or not they openly support the PNC in the end, the CDA's
programs will indirectly contribute to social development and
consolidation in CSDI zones. End Comment.

© Scoop Media

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