Life in Bogota: Luke's Governance Placement with UNDP Colombia


“Something written on the IDDIP website has stayed with me and is something that I have thought about often, in the context of global citizenry. That experiences and connections made doing things such as this now often “produce tremendous goodwill which is disproportionate to the cost of their creation”. This, without a doubt is something I have found to be true, over the course of my travels and in this experience in particular. So thank you for helping me invest in this.”

BOGOTA - The past month with UNDP Colombia working in the Democratic Governance Unit has involved me focusing on electoral strategy in the run up to the 2018 presidential elections in Colombia. As this is to be the first election since the signing of the peace deal or acuerdo final reached between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – the People’s Army (FARC-EP) late last year, there is understandably a close focus on the presidential candidates and their prospective platforms should they be voted in to la Casa de Nariño. Part of my work involves monitoring presidential candidates or pre-candidates, political party activity, changes to the presidential cabinet and to follow the congressional processes surrounding the implementation of the final agreement in new laws being proposed, debated and implemented.

The majority of this last month and the end of my placement will revolve around public engagement  in territories around the country where UNDP has regional offices. With Congreso Visible, a UN partner agency and congress watchdog, and the Ministry of the Interior the purpose of this strategy will be to help citizens understand how to evaluate and critique their elected politicians, shed light on some avenues for better informing themselves and their communities, and listening to their concerns and exploring the potential for public debates in the run up to the May/June elections. 

The work is extremely interesting for the window it offers into the UN’s coordinated efforts towards achieving and enhancing the political engagement of youth and the public in the implementation phase of a post conflict Colombia. More than anything the proximity to and involvement in meetings, conferences and events with Colombian youth and Civil Society representatives, with Congresswomen/men and UN staff has allowed me to learn how many Colombians are adjusting to the changes in the political landscape that the end to the war entails and what people are doing to make it last or prevent or change its implementation. 


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