With our group from the Peace Research Institute Oslo
(PRIO) summer school, we visit the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). We'll be hearing from some of their officials and diplomats on their involvement in mediating peace processes, particularly in Colombia.
This came as a surprise to me, because I was in Colombia
when the peace agreement was signed and had no idea that Norway was involved. We're told that this was all very intentional: the country tends to keep a low profile. In fact, it even operated as a guarantor state
, which refers to countries that "have a special interest in ensuring an end to the conflict and formally commit to devoting resources to conflict resolution."
It's taken so long to bring peace partly because the Colombian conflict has been particularly complex: a group of rebels known as the FARC (along with others) have been locked in a guerilla war with the government in Bogota for nearly half a century, and efforts by the various presidential administrations have been ineffective in bringing it to a complete halt.
In 2016, an agreement was finally signed (but only with the FARC, not other rebel groups) that would allow for the organization to become a political party and start the process of disarmament, demobilization and & reintegration