Sustainable rural development in the Colombian countryside that reduces poverty and promotes the inclusion of women and youth will be key to achieving and maintaining peace in Colombia, according to a new report issued by the international humanitarian organization Lutheran World Relief.

Basing its insights with consultations with LWR’s local partners in Colombia, Voices from the New Countryside: the challenge and opportunity of peace in rural Colombia, examines both the challenges in pursuing inclusive rural development after five decades of civil war and some promising positive developments that should be expanded.

Rural development plays a central role in the peace deal between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels and the government of President Juan Manuel Santos. A peace “dividend” for what the agreement dubbed the New Colombian Countryside (Nuevo Campo Colombiano) is considered a key step in responding to the needs of long-suffering rural inhabitants and returnees among the 6 million people who have been displaced by the long-term conflict. This new model of rural development has been a shared priority by both parties to the deal.

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