Colombia is one of the oldest democracies in Latin America with a diversified and growing economy, solid functioning institutions, progressive laws, an active civil society, and abundant natural resources. However, Colombia is also marked by significant income inequality and rural poverty, weak state presence and services in certain rural areas, and a decades-long internal armed conflict that causes human rights violations and impedes national efforts to tackle poverty and exclusion. The internal armed conflict had resulted in Colombia having the world's second largest population of internally displaced persons (at least 5 million) and the largest number of landmine victims in the Americas.

In recent years, the Government of Colombia has made progress in reducing poverty and in bringing security to rural areas. The government has also initiated peace discussions with the two largest guerilla movements (FARC and ELN), with the goal of ending the last guerilla war in the Americas.

Find out what Canada is doing to support development in Colombia.

Thematic Focus

In 2014, Colombia was confirmed as a country of focus for the Government of Canada's international development efforts.

The overall goal of Canada's program in Colombia is to improve human rights and reduce inequality and poverty for the most vulnerable. This includes a thematic focus on children and youth (with a priority on child protection and access to education) to help break the cycles of violence that have plagued Colombia and help prepare future generations for full integration into society. It also includes a thematic focus on sustainable economic growth (with a priority on rural economic development) that will help ensure that small-scale farmers, women, ethnic minorities and youth can earn a decent living and contribute to their local economy. 

The Government of Colombia has identified its development priorities in its National Development Plan 2010-2014. Canada's program in Colombia supports the objectives of the Government of Colombia to achieve these priorities.

Economic growth

Canada supports the participation of vulnerable groups in Colombia's economic development via assistance to agricultural cooperatives and producer associations, the provision of rural credit and insurance services, technical-vocational training, trade-related technical assistance for Colombia's small and medium-sized enterprises, and technical assistance for the responsible management of natural resources. Canada also works in partnership with the Colombian and Canadian private sectors to support economic diversification and market access for rural populations.

Key anticipated results

  • Implemented community-level sustainable development projects in partnership with regional and local governments, non-governmental organizations, and extractive sector companies.
  • Provided vulnerable groups (including small-scale farmers, women, youth, and ethnic minorities) with support for sustainable economic development initiatives.

Children and youth

Canada continues to support the rights of the most vulnerable groups in Colombia, with a special focus on promoting and protecting the rights of children and youth and improving educational access in conflict-affected areas. Canada works in partnership with Colombian state institutions and civil society to protect children and youth from violence, exploitation and abuse.

Key anticipated results

  • Increased access to education and conflict-resolution skills for children and youth in rural areas
  • Developed policies and programs for children and youth affected by internal displacement, human rights violations, and injuries caused by landmines

Progress on Aid Effectiveness

Colombia adheres to the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (PDF, 317 KB, 23 pages). Its International Cooperation Strategy for 2012-2014 , which guides Colombia's international development cooperation, is coordinated through the Presidential Agency for Cooperation (APC Colombia).

Canada actively takes part in the Donors Group and the G24, two donor coordination bodies that maintain an ongoing and constructive dialogue with the Colombian government and civil society on issues of development, peace, and human rights.



Achievements 2012-2013

Ensuring Security and Stability

  • Trained 47,430 children and adolescents on how to protect themselves from violence, exploitation and abuse.
  • Provided 12,835 adolescents and youths with sexual education and reproductive health services.
  • Fifty-three (53) tourism businesses were certified with a Code of Conduct that commits them to preventing commercial sexual exploitation on their premises.
  • Helped 9 indigenous and Afro-Colombian organizations develop community Prevention and Protection Plans that protect youth from violence and exploitation in conflict-affected areas.

Children and Youth

  • Helped reintegrate 11,783 out-of-school girls and boys back into the Colombian school system.
  • Helped train 12,867 family members and caregivers to provide quality childcare for 617,616 children (0-5 yrs old).
  • Trained 11,700 youth in leadership and organizational skills in conflict-affected areas of Nariño Department.
  • Trained 2,557 youth (1,402 women and 1,155 men) in leadership skills and gender equality in Nariño Department.

Stimulating economic growth

Helped youth entrepreneurs prepared sixty (60) business plans and provided them with training in sustainable agriculture and crop management.


Achievements 2011-2012

  • Trained 17,200 members of the Colombian Armed Forces and the National Police on humanitarian law and children's rights
  • Trained more than 6,400 children, adolescents, and adults on the importance of child protection and rights and gender equality via workshops and awareness-raising activities
  • Helped 2,268 vulnerable young people and 590 adults gain access to alternative education
  • Trained 1,786 teachers on new teaching practices, leading to better educational performance
  • Trained 900 youth on how to improve their life skills and 504 youth on income-generating activities via training workshops
  • Trained more than 500 children, youth and parents on how to prevent sexual abuse and commercial sexual exploitation through community awareness activities and events

Although Canada does not have direct programming in MNCH in Colombia Canada has improved the health of women and children by working with Canadian and global partners. See all maternal, newborn and child health projects in Colombia.

Visit the Canada delivers results for the world’s women and children page for more information.

Map of international development projects in the Americas

Map of projects in Colombia
2014-2015 international assistance disbursements to Colombia
(in millions of dollars)
Global Affairs Canada39.96
Other departments and sources1.72