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For UNDP in Colombia

His Royal Highness The Crown Prince is in Colombia on behalf of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). “There is nothing more important for development than peace,” said the Crown Prince after his meeting with the President of Colombia.


In November 2016 the Colombian authorities signed a peace accord with FARC guerrillas, marking the end of 50 years of war with some 200 000 lives lost and over eight million victims. In 2017 the guerrillas laid down their weapons and the country could embark on the long road towards peace and reconciliation.

In his work as a UNDP Goodwill Ambassador, Crown Prince Haakon has dedicated particular focus to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, especially Goal 1: to end poverty. Lasting peace is a prerequisite for achieving this and many of the other UN SDGs. 

“If there is one thing I have learned, it is that there is nothing more important for development than peace. And that real development – inclusive, involving development – is crucial for lasting peace.”

Colombia’s national development plan combines peace efforts, sustainable development goals and climate change mitigation into an integrated whole.

Breakfast meeting

The Crown Prince began the day with a breakfast meeting with Carlos Holmes Trujillo, Colombian Minister of Foreign Affairs. The two had an interesting conversation about the country’s development and the role of UNDP in Colombia. They also discussed relations between Norway and Colombia, and Norway’s support for the peace effort. As a former ambassador to Norway, Mr Trujillo is very knowledgeable about these issues.

Breakfast meeting with Colombian Minister of Foreign Affairs Carlos Holmes Trujillo. Photo: FN-sambandet / Eivind Oskarson.  

After his meeting, Crown Prince Haakon had the opportunity to walk through the beautiful, historic Candelaria district in the heart of Bogotá, on his way to the national museum, Fragmentos. 

Candelaria is the historic district of Bogotá. Photo: FN-sambandet / Eivind Oskarson 

powerful symbol

The next part of the programme took place at Fragmentos museum, where a floor of steel provides a moving monument to the war. Visual artist and sculptor Doris Salcedo together with women victims of the war melted down 37 tonnes of weapons from the FARC disarmament, creating 1 300 floor tiles that now cover 800 square metres of flooring, surrounded by ruins.

Colombian artist Doris Salcedo explained about the museum and the melted-down weapons. Photo: FN-sambandet / Eivind Oskarson

Meeting with victims

Next the Crown Prince had an emotional meeting with some of the victims of the lengthy conflict. Many people were displaced from their homes, forced to seek refuge, subjected to abuse, or lost loved ones. The uncertainty that many of these people live with is a constant hardship. They do not know what happened – their loved ones are among the Forced Disappeared.

Ómar Abril Torres disappeared in April 2010. His mother Carmen now works for one of the organisations helping victims of the conflict. Photo: FN-sambandet / Eivind Oskarson

Also in attendance were the heads of the institutions working for justice for the victims – the Comprehensive System for Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition. They are trying to uncover what happened, achieve reparations for the victims, and ensure that history does not repeat itself. Various groups affected are represented, and the System’s work is being followed closely far beyond Colombia’s borders. If successful, this model could be an example to be followed in the wake of conflicts all over the world. Obtaining justice for victims is vital to achieve a reconciliation that society can build upon to move forward.

A ceremony with candles and flowers was held with some victims of the lengthy war in Colombia. Photo: FN-sambandet / Eivind Oskarson

Meeting with the President 

Crown Prince Haakon met with the President of Colombia, His Excellency Iván Duque, in the President’s Palace. Norway and Colombia cooperate in a number of areas and Norway is an important partner in the battle against climate change and deforestation. 

It was of great importance to express support for Colombia’s work towards peace and reconciliation and extend congratulations on the national development plan.

The Crown Prince meeting with President Iván Duque. Photo: FN-sambandet / Eivind Oskarson

Crown Prince Haakon has been working with UNDP for over 15 years. In this time he has visited many countries and seen first-hand how much the UN can achieve in cooperation with national authorities.

In a statement after the meeting, the Crown Prince said, “If there is one thing I have learned, it is that there is nothing more important for development than peace. And that real development – inclusive, involving development – is crucial for lasting peace.” 

“In this sense, Colombia’s experience stands out as a source of inspiration. You are demonstrating for us all that it is indeed possible to leave years of conflict behind and to move ahead towards peace. In doing so you are building a better future for the millions of Colombians who aspire to a better future for themselves and their families.” 

Local UNDP staff

The Crown Prince also had the opportunity to visit local UNDP staff. There he learned more about the important work they carry out and the many projects in which they are involved. 

Visiting local UNDP staff in Bogotá. Photo: FN-sambandet / Eivind Oskarson

UNDP actively supports the peace effort and is involved in a number of projects that the Crown Prince will be visiting over the next few days.



The 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals

  1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
  2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
  3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
  4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
  5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
  6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
  7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
  8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
  10. Reduce inequality within and among countries
  11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
  12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production pattern
  13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
  14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
  15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
  16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
  17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

Source: the UN

Crown Prince Haakon in Mesetas. Photo: FN-sambandet / Eivind Oskarson.

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